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Force10 Takes $51 Million

Force10 has quietly racked up over $50 million in Series F funding, ostensibly to lay the foundation for a public offering sometime in the next few months.

The 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch specialist refused to comment on the funding when contacted by Byte and Switch today, although documents recently filed with the SEC reveal that the vendor raised around $51 million in an equity offering to 43 investors.

The cash influx brings the switch vendor's total funding to around $350 million and puts the firm's long-term strategy in the spotlight once again. (See Force10 Orders One More Round.)

This isn't the first time Force10 has gotten big funding amid whispers of imminent IPO. In 2005, Force 10 collected $40 million in funding in what was supposed to be its final round prior to IPO, although the bugaboo of Sarbanes Oxley compliance apparently stalled this effort. (See Force10 IPO Still Hanging.)

At least one analyst believes it will really happen this time -- sooner rather than later. "I have heard, and it has been corroborated by a number of people -- that a filing could be imminent," says Joe Chiasson, equity analyst for telecom equipment at Susquehanna Financial Group. "It may be within the next three months."

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