Wireless Challenger Has High-Flying Public Debut


The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company bested expectations by raising $88 million in capital, more than expected after pricing its initial public offering of 8 million shares at $11 per share. The company expected to price its IPO between $8 and $10 per share, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

It is taking on market leader Cisco Systems in the wireless networking arena and was the fastest growing vendor in the worldwide enterprise WLAN space for 2006, according to Synergy Research Group.

Aruba shares Tuesday closed up $3.15 at $14.15. The company is listed under the symbol "ARUN."

Solution providers expressed hope that Aruba will use some of the new-found funding to boost its channel efforts.

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"Demand generation activity would be good to see, [as would] more market awareness, more programs to help the channel build demand," said Tom Duffy, president of IGXglobal, an Aruba partner in Rocky Hill, Conn. "If they're going to have to keep investors happy, they will have to get good channel strength going."

Aruba executives were unable to comment Tuesday about plans for the new funding because the company is in a quiet period following the IPO, a spokesman said. In filings with the SEC, Aruba said it plans to use proceeds to expand sales and support functions for both direct and indirect channels.

Duffy said IGXglobal is "doing a fair amount" of Aruba business and that sales are picking up. "What Aruba is doing is concentrating on quality and [high performance] products and building its reputation," Duffy said.

Along with Trapeze Networks and Meru Networks, Aruba is one of the few remaining independent wireless vendors. It counts Alcatel-Lucent as an OEM partner.

Many of its rivals have been snapped up by bigger networking players in recent years. In 2005, Cisco acquired Airespace, Siemens purchased Chantry Networks and Terabeam picked up Proxim. This year has already seen Motorola buy Symbol Technologies and Polycom acquire SpectraLink.

The company is not yet profitable and expects to incur losses for the next several quarters, according to SEC filings. Aruba posted a loss of $11.7 million on revenue of $51.2 million for the six months ended January 31, 2007, compared to a loss of $9 million on revenue of $27.7 million for the same period a year ago.