Box may delay IPO, but it’s not for sale

May 01, 2014

FORTUNE -- The Wall Street Journal this evening is reporting that Box may delay its IPO until sometime this summer, rather than pricing next month as expected.

This is no big surprise, given the sharp decline in enterprise cloud stocks over the past few months, coupled with Box's own underwhelming financials. Even if Box hasn't made a formal "delay" decision yet, it must have noticed that overall IPO volume has fallen off a cliff.

But the WSJ also quotes a wealth manager as saying that Box could "explore a sale to a tech giant." As of this moment, that is not happening (despite several Secret posts to the contrary).

Fortune has learned from multiple sources that bankers -- including at least one listed on Box's IPO registration -- have put out feelers to large tech companies about Box, but that those calls were not authorized by Box's board of directors. Instead, they appear to be a bit of freelancers by underwriters in search of optionality.

Box still has faith that it can go public, even if it takes a bit longer than expected. And then there is CEO Aaron Levie, who one source said "would have a heart attack if the board told him they seriously want him to sell... if he wasn't so insistent on staying independent, he would have already accepted an offer from Citrix or Salesforce."

RELATED: Aaron Levie owns more of Box than you think

What really could become interesting would be if Box tries to push through, becoming the first so-called 'unicorn' to IPO after public cloud prices have come closer to earth. Will its late-stage investors buy shares in the offering, as has occurred in many similar offerings? Or if Box gets valued below the $2 billion+ mark it got during its last private round. No matter what, there are a number of private companies lined up behind Box that are watching closely.

Box declined comment, citing the SEC-mandated quiet period.

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