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Palo Alto Networks IPO: High Expectations

Stocks in this article: PANW KYAK JNPR FTNT CHKP

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Palo Alto Networks makes its debut as a public company on Friday amid high expectations for the security specialist.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's IPO was priced at $42 a share late on Thursday, just days after raising its offering price to between $38 and $40 a share.

"This is a good IPO -- it's 40 times oversubscribed," Scott Sweet, senior managing partner of IPO Boutique, told TheStreet. "The numbers on Palo Alto are outstanding -- of all the cloud-based IPOs that have debuted in 2012 and prior, the numbers in growth in the top and bottom line stand apart."

The Fortinet (FTNT) and Check Point Software (CHKP) rival is offering 4,687,259 of the 6.2 million total IPO shares and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'PANW'.

Palo Alto certainly enjoy impressive demand for its firewall technology, which protects data centers, enterprise Internet gateways, and service providers.

The company grew its annual revenue from $13.4 million in fiscal 2009 to $118.6 million in fiscal 2011 and its net loss narrowed from $19 million to $12.5 million over the same period. Palo Alto brought in revenue of $179.5 million in the nine months ended April 30, 2012.

The firm's IPO timing is also good, according to Sweet. "They are coming out at the sweet spot of the market given that the best-performing IPOs of this year have all been cloud-based," he said, pointing to the recent offerings from Splunk (SPLK), Demandware (DMWRE) and Guidewire Software (GWRE).

The analyst, however, wants more detail on how Palo Alto will maintain its upward trajectory. "What means and what opportunities do they see to continue on that red hot growth?" he said.

Palo Alto is also embroiled in a patent legal battle with Juniper (JNPR).

Online travel firm Kayak also makes its public debut on Friday after pricing its IPO at $26 a share, above the expected price range of $22 to $25. The Norwalk, Conn.-based company, which is offering 3.5 million shares, is set to start trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol 'KYAK'.

"I expect both Palo Alto and Kayak to pop big," noted Sweet.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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