Arista Jumps in Debut After Raising $226 Million in U.S. IPO

Arista Networks Inc., a provider of cloud-networking applications used by companies such as EBay Inc. and Facebook Inc., gained in its debut after raising $226 million in an initial public offering.

The stock increased 28 percent to $55 at 4 p.m. in New York, giving the company a market value of about $3.5 billion. Arista sold 5.25 million shares for $43 each, above the marketed range of $36 to $40.

Arista, based in Santa Clara, California, sells high-performance switches that carry data traffic. Jayshree Ullal, Arista’s chief executive officer, has said competitor Cisco Systems Inc. stands to lose as more customers outsource their networks to cloud-computing providers. The seven largest Internet companies could be handling one-third of all Internet traffic at some point, she said in an interview this year.

Arista was among at least three technology companies that delayed their IPOs when the market for new issues slumped, people familiar with the matter said last month. Technology stocks have since rebounded from a selloff in April that saw the Bloomberg Americas Software Index suffer its worst monthly decline since October 2012.

About $7 billion worth of technology and Internet IPOs have flooded the U.S. markets this year, compared with $1.4 billion during the same period in 2013, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

High Valuation

Arista is profitable and posted revenue growth of 87 percent last year to $361.2 million. Net income almost doubled in 2013 to $42.5 million, according to the company’s prospectus.

At the $43 price, Arista has the second-highest valuation among data-networking peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Industries. Arista came to the market at 59 times last year’s earnings, behind only Ruckus Wireless Inc., which is at 543 times, the data showed.

The company has emerged as a meaningful threat to much larger Cisco, by winning business with Internet companies and others that need the most powerful gear to run large data centers, a market that is expected to double to $12 billion by 2017, said Brian Marshall, an analyst with International Strategy & Investment Group LLC. He put a target price of $60 on the shares.

Switch Revenue

According to market research firm Infonetics Research Inc., Cisco’s switch revenue declined 7 percent in the first quarter from the previous year, while Arista’s increased 90 percent.

The executives at Arista took a more open approach to technology that’s now becoming more popular among buyers of networking gear. Rather than meld software and hardware into proprietary systems, Arista’s gear is based on more modular software that can be improved more quickly, according to Michael Howard, co-founder of Infonetics.

Ullal was criticized for offering pre-IPO “friends and family” shares to several reporters, including a Bloomberg News reporter. The offer, which the Bloomberg News reporter declined, was rescinded after the company was criticized.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. managed the offering. The stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ANET.

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