Years ago, I asked a twice successful telco entrepreneur whether it was better to have a company acquired or go public (he had done one of each -- both leading to tremendous paychecks). He quickly said "you make a lot more money going public" and left it at that. While so many more companies seem built to flip these days, and with acquisitions suddenly hot again, it appears not everyone wants to go that route. Despite strong overtures from Cisco, Aruba Networks shunned attempts to be bought, believing they can go public on their own and cash out a much larger paycheck. Even after watching Cisco snap up their closest competitor for $450 million, the folks at Aruba still claim they made the right decision. Of course, going public isn't the guaranteed blast it once was -- and with new regulations in place, it seems that many companies actually feel much more comfortable avoiding the public spotlight of an IPO. While it's good to aim high, the thing that comes across as a bit disturbing in reading through this piece is that the folks at Aruba seem to be aiming for an IPO as if it were the final target -- not just a stepping stone to becoming an even bigger company. When companies are focused on an IPO for the sake of an IPO, rather than as fuel to rocket the company forward, that's a problem. The company isn't really focused on the market, but on doing what it takes to become public.
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