Infoblox market debut gets a technology boost

Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:41pm EDT

Infoblox Inc. executives Stuart Bailey (centre, L), founder and chief technology officer, and Robert Thomas, president and CEO, celebrate their company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 20, 2012. Shares of Infoblox Inc, which makes software and hardware for network automation, rose 46 percent in their market debut, after it priced its initial public offering above the expected range. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Infoblox Inc. executives Stuart Bailey (centre, L), founder and chief technology officer, and Robert Thomas, president and CEO, celebrate their company's IPO on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 20, 2012. Shares of Infoblox Inc, which makes software and hardware for network automation, rose 46 percent in their market debut, after it priced its initial public offering above the expected range.

Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

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(Reuters) - Network automation company Infoblox Inc's (BLOX.N) shares rose as much as 46 percent on their market debut as technology companies continue to be an investor favorite.

Infoblox's IPO comes a day after Splunk Inc (SPLK.O) made a blockbuster debut, reaping the rewards of being the first mover in the 'Big Data' space.

Infoblox shares closed up 33 percent at $21.30 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, taking its market valuation to $937.2 million.

The company had priced its offering at $16 per share, above its initial proposed range of between $12 and $14.

Technology companies have attracted considerable investor interest in the IPO market in recent months, with most trading at very high multiples.

Infoblox provides automation technology that helps customers create internal networks and data centers to address the growing number of network connected devices and applications.

The company, which was founded in 1999 by its present Chief Technology Officer Stuart Bailey, counts Adobe Systems Inc (ADBE.O), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N), Boeing Co (BA.N) and Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) among its 5,400 plus end customers.

"We saw a big opportunity looming in the next few years for network automation, and we really wanted to make sure we could invest in that, a bit ahead of the curve," Chief Executive Robert Thomas told Reuters.

The company may look at "small technology acquisitions" after a year, he said.

Thomas previously served as CEO of NetScreen Technologies, a network security company acquired by Juniper Networks (JNPR.N) for $4 billion in 2004.

For the six months ended January 31, the company recorded a net loss of $2.8 million on revenue of $80.7 million, according to a regulatory filing. The CEO said the company has a target of achieving an operating profit margin of 18 to 22 percent in three years.

Infoblox is backed by Sequoia Capital, a venture capital firm known for investing early in companies like Google (GOOG.O), LinkedIn (LNKD.N), YouTube and more recently, Instagram -- the photo sharing app maker that was scooped up by Facebook for $1 billion.

Sequoia Capital owns a fourth of Infoblox, a stake now valued at about $234 million. CEO Thomas owns about 6.6 percent of the shares.

Business security products maker Proofpoint Inc (PFPT.O) also made its debut on Friday after an $82 million IPO priced above range. It closed up 8 percent at $14.08.

(Reporting by Aman Shah and Sharanya Hrishikesh in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane, Sreejiraj Eluvangal)

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