After nine years of successful independence, security hardware vendor Fortinet has admitted it is plotting to turn itself into a public company.

The Californian-based company has filed Form s-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), with a wide range of finance houses onboard to market the IPO (Initial Public Offering) to institutional and probably private investors.

Fortinet has not announced a likely share price range nor said how many shares it will market for what percentage of the company, but third-party sources have quoted the total value being a very modest $100 million. A timescale for the IPO has not been announced.

In the first half of 2009, Fortinet narrowed its losses to $916,000 (£552,000) from $5.1 million, and could see the improvement in interest in tech companies as a sign that the time to act has come. Possible uses for the money raised include acquisitions, at least while prices remain relatively cheap.

Under the leadership of Chinese-American CEO, Ken Xie, the company has built a respected position in Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances, surviving through two recessions in its existence.

In June, the company held a major European reseller event at the golf paradise of St Andrews in Scotland, signalling its ambition to move away from dependence on US sales.

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