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Founder of Openet will win big in €500m float

Hogan and Norton stakes worth up to €21m as firm's valuation soars

A €500m NYSE float by Irish software success Openet would be a big win for stakeholders in the growing tech company.

Analysts expect the firm, which counts the world's biggest telcos including Vodafone, AT&T and Bell as customers, to fend off buyers and go for an IPO valued at €450m-€500m.

This would make Barry Maloney's Balderton Capital's 55 per cent stake worth around €250m.

Another long-term backer, Cross Atlantic Capital, and its offshoot Crucible, founded by tech entrepreneur Gerry McCrory, would hold a €38m value share.

Original founder and the techie brains behind the operation, Joe Hogan, would be worth some €14m through his stake.

Money man CEO Niall Norton, the former Telefonica CFO who came on board in 2005 and has played a crucial role in drumming up fresh finance, would own a share worth about €7m.

Fortune 500 investor SAIC and US VC The Co-Investment 2000 Fund would have stakes worth more than €40m and €50m respectively.

Enterprise Ireland would see return on its 2.4 per cent investment in the region of €12m. Openet is believed to have filed first draft of F-1 documents with the Securities Exchange Commission in September and to have engaged with bankers about a float since last summer, raising pre-float funding.

A planned March 2011 stock market outing was nixed due to parlous markets and a legal action brought by Amdocs over patents. Openet have applied to have the case dismissed.

A float in the current market would carry a valuation of circa €300m, but would build to €450m-€500m if it happened next year.

The company makes software that allows customers to track their billing on smartphones and iPads, internet TVs and laptops. It allows big telcos to manage their loyalty programmes and premium products offerings.

Revenue of €120m for 2012 is expected, 25-30 per cent up on 2011's €92m. The ambition is said to be to make Openet a €300m company by 2015.

Meanwhile, reports reach us that Openet has had more potential suitors than a lapdancer on a stag night, including IBM, Cisco, Ericcson, Huawei, competitor/rival Amdocs and Juniper. It's thought shareholders and management would rather fend off courters and hold out for a float.

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Openet recently opened a patent office in Ireland and filed a big patent for its sixth product, yet to be announced. All of its next generation product development is being done in Dublin's Parkwest. The company is actively recruiting high skill engineering and IT staff.

Openet declined to make any comment on its plans.

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