Dell SecureWorks Files For Confidential IPO

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The cybersecurity market is growing rapidly these days, and apparently Dell plans to strike while the iron is hot.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dell has confidentially filed for an initial public offering of its cybersecurity unit, Dell SecureWorks Inc., as a major step in the firms efforts to reshaping itself.

Dell purchased the software and consulting firm back in 2011, and is now looking to take it public. Knowledgeable sources who spoke to the Wall Street Journal said Dell had filed for the IPO several months ago and was working with Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley on the deal. The sources also noted the roadshow to market the IPO could kick off before the end of the year, which could mean the new public firm will be trading by January 1st.

The relatively new Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act permits firms with annual revenue under $1 billion to make a secret IPO filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, they are required to “lift the veil” on upcoming IPO at least 21 days before the marketing roadshow kicks off.

The fast-growing cybersecurity concern could be valued as high as $2 billion, but that has not been finalized yet, according to one of the sources.

Dell in the midst of a major makeover

The spin out of SecureWorks is just leg of a broader strategic retooling at the erstwhile computer maker. Remember that it was barely two years ago that Dell went private in a $25 billion buyout by Michael Dell and private-equity firm Silver Lake. According to various sources, the two partners are currently in advanced negotiations to purchase data-storage giant EMC Corp. at least $50 billion.

The WSJ sources note that SecureWorks has become less of strategic fit with the rest of Dell, which today mainly comprises servers, storage and networking gear.

Of note, Dell is not planning to part with any of its ownership in SecureWorks in the IPO. The offering will raise funds by by bringing in outside investors and setting things up for future m&A activities.

Analysts highlight that SecureWorks mainly sells managed-security services that firms use to monitor their network activity and prevent hackers from getting into their computer systems.

Dell picked up SecureWorks for a mere $612 million a little more than four years ago. SecureWorks has continued to operate as a separate unit within Dell since the acquisition.

IT security has become a hot area for venture-capital firms this year, and has led to several successful IPOs, including Rapid7, which is up 52% since its IPO this summer, and CyberArk Software, up 233% since its debut barely a year ago.

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