Cogent IPO Hits Market

South Pasadena-based Cogent has started trading today, as it offered 18M shares of its stock at $12M. The company raised $216M in its initial public offering this morning. $65M of the offering will go to CEO Ming Hsieh, who was owner of 100% of the company prior to the offering. Cogent develops automated fingerprint recognition systems, used by law enforcement agencies and the Department of Homeland Security, among others. The systems capture fingerprint images electronically, and allow those agencies to compare the fingerprints to a central database. Cogent earned $5.6M on sales of $32M last year. The IPO was underwritten by Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Bear Stearns & Co., SG Cowen & Co., and Needham & Co.