Force10, Fresh Off $76M in Losses, Files for IPO

Force10 Networks, which makes telecom networking equipment, including 10-gig Ethernet gear for data centers, plans to raise $144 million through an IPO that some industry observers say comes years too late.

Founded in 1999, Force10 has generated $400 million total through private investors who apparently are tired of funding a money-loser – and no one else seems to want to buy Force10. The company lost $76.3 million last year alone. So Force10 has to find a solid exit strategy and going public appears to be the answer. Or that’s what GigaOM speculates, anyway.

Force10 says it will use the IPO proceeds to possibly do more M&A – the San Jose, Calif.-based company last year bought wireless backhaul equipment manufacturer Turin Networks.

Meantime, now looks like a decent time to hit up Wall Street for money. Renaissance Capital says at least 10 IPOs will take place in March, signaling that “the IPO market is slowly returning to normalized activity levels.” The IPO-tracking firm also says IPO filings are up 900 percent by this, just the third month of 2010.

Force10 plans to trade under the ticker symbol ‘FTEN’. J.P. Morgan, Deutsche Bank Securities and Barclays Capital are underwriting the transaction. Force10’s investors include Advanced Equities, which held a 28.1 percent stake in the company pre-IPO; New Enterprise Associations, with a 9.8 percent stake; DCM, U.S. Venture Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.

Force10 runs a partner program that includes resellers.

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