Sourcefire looking to go public

News Analysis

Sourcefire looking to go public

Bill Brenner, Senior News Writer

Sourcefire Inc. is making plans to go public, seven months after Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. dropped plans to acquire it.

In a statement emailed to SearchSecurity.com late Wednesday, Sourcefire announced it had filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an initial public offering of common stock. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined, the company said.

It's unclear how the move might affect the company's popular Snort open source IDS tool.

Sourcefire in the news:
Oct. 6, 2005: Check Point to buy Sourcefire for about $225m

Feb. 24, 2006: Sourcefire's Roesch pledges long, open source life for Snort

March 3, 2006: Sourcefire acquisition under government scrutiny

March 24, 2006: Check Point drops plans to acquire Sourcefire

Sourcefire, based in Columbia, Md., commercialized the widely popular open source IDS tool Snort and has made inroads the last couple of years in the emerging intrusion prevention market. But the company ran into controversy last year when Check Point announced plans to acquire it for $225 million in cash.

The deal was unpopular among die-hard Snort users. Some feared Check Point would allow Snort to languish, as some feel it has done since it acquired the popular free ZoneAlarm desktop firewall application as part of its $205 million purchase of Zone Labs in 2003. Others worried that Check Point would seek to further monetize Snort by no longer allowing it to be an open source product.

The Israeli enterprise security company ran into trouble with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinized the deal amid concerns that foreign ownership of Snort would threaten U.S. national security.

It became a moot point in March, when Check Point withdrew its application to acquire Sourcefire.

The sole lead book-running manager of the public offering will be Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., Sourcefire said. Lehman Brothers Inc. will serve as co-lead manager and UBS Securities LLC and Jefferies & Company Inc. will serve as co-managers. At some point, a preliminary prospectus relating to the offering will be obtainable by emailing prospectus@morganstanley.com or by contacting the prospectus department at Morgan Stanley at 1585 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10036.


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