So, lastly, let’s take a look on what is in the pipeline and may work as drivers for the two companies. In May, Palo Alto Networks announced the acquisition of CirroSecure in order to incorporate applications for SaaS (Software as a Service) into its portfolio, a tool that Palo Alto Networks until now has been lacking. In May, it was also announced that Fortinet was about to buy Meru Networks (NASDAQ:MERU) in order to strengthen its strategic direction and abilities in securing Wi-Fi networks. Encouraging for both Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks is also that the market for security products is robust and growing, something we assessed in an article last week.
Overall, a total of 28 hedge funds, of the 730 we currently track, hold long positions in Fortinet as of the end of March, down by five on the quarter. However, in Palo Alto Networks, the number of funds holding shares went up to 47 from 43. In Palo Alto Networks the largest shareholder, among the hedge funds we track, is Christopher Lord ‘s Criterion Capital with 1.02 million shares, while in Fortinet, a large shareholder is Citadel Investment Group, led by Ken Griffin, with 3.21 million shares. The holdings by hedge funds increased by 20% from the last quarter of 2014 to the first of 2015, to $953,208 million in Palo Alto Networks, while in Fortinet the aggregated holding decreased by 12% to $349,401 million.
When putting the pieces together is seems like Palo Alto Networks wins this battle on points and hence is the preferred pick among the two IT-security companies. Someone who likes to take a double bet is Donald Chiboucis‘ Columbus Circle Investors that after increases by 672% and 39% keeps 786,387 shares of Palo Alto Networks and 3.17 million shares of Fortinet.