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Initial public offerings of tech companies are on the rise, but these days, the companies going this route are in a lot different shape than their late-1990s counterparts, says Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati partner Steven Bochner, who last month helped Sunnyvale’s Aruba Networks go public. And no, the Valley’s not in the midst of a new IPO boom, Bochner said. “I don’t think we’ll ever be back to those days,” he said. “The company going public today is significantly more mature. It has a greater financial and management infrastructure and has a greater revenue run-rate than the offerings we saw five or six or seven years ago.” Aruba launched its IPO March 27 and raised $101.2 million for the company, which manages networks of employee mobile devices for companies and educational institutions. The transaction went smoothly, and Aruba exemplifies the new paradigm for companies going public, Bochner said. Nearly five years elapsed between Aruba’s first venture funding and its IPO, which is typical these days, Bochner said. The average is about six years, and in the boom time was about two years, he said. “The market’s demanding greater maturity,” he said. “A company needs to be able to withstand the greater rigors of being public.” One of those rigors is, as corporate attorneys know, federal Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, which demands highly specific record-keeping and government disclosures. There were 13 IPOs of venture-backed companies in the first quarter of 2007, according to Dow Jones VentureOne research, about equal to the number over the same period last year. But this year’s first-quarter IPOs have raised double the amount of money as first quarter 2006 � $1.2 billion versus $599.2 million � and more of them involve tech companies, the research showed. Helping Bochner on the deal were Wilson Sonsini corporate partner Jon Avina and associates Todd Carpenter and Erika Muhl.

Jessie Seyfer

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