The startup that was supposed to be the first tech IPO of 2017 pulled a shady move on some of its own bankers


David Wadhwani AppDynamics

Dan Frommer, Business Insider

AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani.

It looks like AppDynamics' last-minute deal to sell itself to Cisco - rather than go public as planned - was a surprise to more people than just investors.


Some of the bankers working on the initial public offering, or IPO, were kept out of the loop until "moments before" the press release, according to Bloomberg's Alex Sherman and Alex Barinka.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan were the lead banks on the IPO, according to an SEC filing, with Barclays, UBS, Wells Fargo, William Blair, and JMP Securities also acting as underwriters.

But AppDynamics hired the boutique bank Qatalyst to work on a sale behind the scenes, according to the the report. During the IPO roadshow they held late-night meetings in hotel rooms after underwriters and investors had left for the day, Bloomberg reported.

Fortune's Erin Griffith reports that Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs advised on the sale along with Qatalyst.


While Cisco has been interested in a deal with AppDynamics for months, Fortune reports that it wasn't until late last week that the company decided to go after a merger "aggressively."

Qatalyst founder Frank Quattrone is a long-time adviser to Cisco, which frequently acquires companies.

It's worth noting Cisco has made this sort of play before. Back in 1999, the company paid about $7 billion to buy Cerent shortly before that company was to go public. Credit Suisse First Boston, whose head of technology at the time was Quattrone, advised on that sale.

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