When John McAdam became CEO of F5 Networks Inc. a decade
ago, the company was in shambles. Demand for its internet traffic management
products plummeted after the dot-com bust, and its share price, which had
reached a high of $160, had dropped to less than $10 within a year.
McAdam reinvented the company, focusing F5’s efforts on
developing software that improves the performance, efficiency and security in
data centers—a smart move, since data centers have rapidly expanded with the
popularity of cloud computing. F5’s software has found its way into the data
centers of many major consumer-driven businesses, and in its most recent
quarter made $254.3 million in revenue, up 45 percent from the previous year.
F5 is now worth approximately $8.25 billion.
F5’s success has put it “in play,” as they say on Wall
Street, drawing interest from a variety of power suitors, from IBM to HP, Dell,
Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and Oracle.