Mimecast sets stage for IPO

Contact: Scott Denne

Mimecast’s business is best described in the same language as the enterprise email systems it has grown up managing: reliable, but not very exciting. The 12-year-old provider of archiving, management and security of business email is prepping for an IPO, and the prospectus published in pursuit of that shows a company that, at least for the last few years, has put up steady numbers.

For its most recent fiscal year (ended March 31, 2015), Mimecast posted $116m in revenue, up 31% from the year before and just one percentage point higher than its growth during the previous period. Gross margins in 2014 came in at 68% – the same level as the previous two years – and operating expenses as a percentage of overall revenue have ticked down 10 percentage points in each of the last two years, helping the company trend toward profitability.

What has fluctuated is foreign currency. Nearly two-thirds of Mimecast’s revenue comes from currencies other than the US dollar. In 2014 that brought it a $5m gain, pushing it slightly into the black. The previous year, currency changes led to a $5m expense, contributing to a $16m loss.

When it comes to the valuation the company might fetch, we look at Proofpoint as the best indicator of where Mimecast might trade. The quasi-competitor posts similar gross margins and a similar growth rate to Mimecast, and is valued at 10x trailing revenue. Even though Proofpoint has far steeper losses, its growth is coming off a revenue base that’s about twice Mimecast’s, and it has built up a fair amount of goodwill (and a 4x increase in its share price in the three-and-a-half years since its IPO) with investors through a series of positive revenue announcements and upward adjustments of revenue guidance. Given those factors, we would expect Mimecast to price below the 10x mark by a few turns, likely in the 5-7x trailing revenue range.

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