Private equity, Channel technologies, Enterprise

Cloudera Acquired By Private Equity Firms

Cloudera will be acquired by private equity firms KKR and Clayton Dubilier & Rice for $5.3 billion, the Hadoop and big data software provider has disclosed.

This is technology M&A deal number 290 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2021. See all technology M&A deals for 2021 and 2020 listed here.

Still, this buyout includes a 30-day “go-shop” period that expires on July 1, 2021. The go-shop clause allows Cloudera's board to seek higher buyout bids for the software company.

Assuming the deal gets completed, Jeff Hawn, CD&R operating partner, will become chairman of Cloudera once the deal is finalized. Hawn previously was chairman and CEO of Quest Software, Vertafore, and Attachmate.

Cloudera: Big Data Hits and Misses

Founded in 2008, Cloudera ($CLDR) helped to pioneer how data is gathered, managed and analyzed within and across companies. Much of the strategy initially involved leveraging open source software called Hadoop.

Still, Cloudera initially depended too heavily on traditional on-premises software. By 2019, Cloudera merged with rival Hortonworks and pivoted more aggressively toward cloud services.

But upstart Snowflake -- launched in 2012 and armed with a pure cloud model -- ultimately grabbed the big data spotlight from many rivals.

The evidence:

  • Snowflake's latest quarterly revenue was $228.9 million, up 110 percent year-over-year, according to a May 26, 2021 earnings announcement from that business.
  • Cloudera's total revenue was $224.3 million, up 7 percent year-over-year, according to a June 1, 2021, earnings release from the company.

Still, Cloudera CEO Rob Bearden says the software company has been making progress. In a prepared statement about the earnings, Bearden asserted:

"Our strong fiscal first quarter results reflect continued CDP momentum and customer enthusiasm for our market leading hybrid multi-cloud solution-set."

Cloudera Buyout: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about the company sale, Bearden added:

"This transaction provides substantial and certain value to our shareholders while also accelerating Cloudera’s long-term path to hybrid cloud leadership for analytics that span the complete data lifecycle - from the Edge to AI. We believe that as a private company with the expertise and support of experienced investors such as CD&R and KKR, Cloudera will have the resources and flexibility to drive product-led growth and expand our addressable market opportunity."

Added Hawn:

“We very much look forward to working with Cloudera as it continues to execute its long-term transformation strategy. The company has made significant progress establishing the Cloudera Data Platform (CDP) as a leader in hybrid and multi-cloud analytics, and we believe that our experience and capabilities can offer valuable support to accelerate expansion into new products and markets.” Mr. Hawn’s past roles include serving as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quest Software, Vertafore, and Attachmate.

Concluded John Park, KKR Partner and head of Americas Technology Private Equity:

“We have followed the Cloudera story closely for a number of years and are pleased to be supporting its mission of helping companies make better use of their data in the ever-evolving hybrid IT environment. We are excited to contribute to Cloudera’s accelerated innovation efforts as a private company.”

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.