Cyber security group Cloudflare published plans on Thursday to list on the New York Stock Exchange, joining the raft of Silicon Valley initial public offerings just days after being embroiled in a debate over whether it should offer services to fringe internet forums.
The San Francisco-based company — which provides security for clients’ web services, including protecting them against distributed denial of service attacks — said in its filing that revenues rose around 50 per cent in the first half of 2019 to $129m from $86m the previous year.
Net losses over the same period widened to $37m from $32m year-on-year.
The company courted controversy this month for providing services to 8chan, the online forum known for hosting far-right communities that was used by the suspects of the El Paso and Christchurch mass shootings to share their intentions.
Pre-IPO Coverage: Cloudflare (NET)
After initially keeping 8chan online in the wake of the attacks, Cloudflare decided to withdraw its services, effectively forcing it offline until it found another provider.
“Even if we comply with legal obligations to remove or disable customer content, we may maintain relationships with customers that others find hostile, offensive or inappropriate,” Cloudflare said in the risk factors in its prospectus.
2020 U.S. IPO Candidates
“We are aware of some potential customers that have indicated their decision to not subscribe to our products was impacted, at least in part, by the actions of certain of our paying and free customers,” it said, adding however that others were concerned about its ability to “censor” companies.
Cloudflare, which also offers cloud services and cites Amazon Web Services and Google’s cloud platform as rivals, said that it had nearly 75,000 paying customers, including 408 with annualised billings of more than $100,000.
It warned in the filing that ongoing trade tensions between the US and China may jeopardise its relationship with client Baidu, the Chinese web company.
It plans to list with a dual-class share structure, but it did not disclose how many shares it sought to sell or a price at which it would offer them. It listed a $100m placeholding figure.
The lead underwriters are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, it said.
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