Rackspace goes private for $4.3bn

Rackspace launches their cloud business in 2008. Austin, TX.
  • Apollo Global Management paying $4.3bn to acquire Rackspace, $32 a share in cash, a 38 percent premium (Bloomberg)
  • Competing against AWS is hard, plus the other mega public cloud plays: “Google’s parent, Alphabet Inc., Amazon and Microsoft have combined cash holdings of more than $200 billion compared to Rackspace’s less than $1 billion.”
  • Brenon at 451 points out that Rackspace throws off a good amount of cash, “$674m of EBITDA over the past year,” and concludes:
  • More from Brenon: “While we could imagine that focus on customer service as competitive differentiator might set up some tension under PE ownership (people are expensive and tend not to scale very well), Rackspace has the advantage of having built that into a profitable business. In short, Rackspace is just the sort of business that should fit comfortably in a PE portfolio.”
  • Meanwhile, as we discuss on Software Defined Talk (#70, “No one wants to eat a finger-pie”), AWS is at a run-rate of ~$10-11bn and growing.
  • In the recent Gartner IaaS Magic Quadrant, Racksapce is in the dread lower left hand corner. To be fair, a whole other MQ, “Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting,” which maps closer to what Rackspace says is their core strategy in cloud, has Rackspace leading. But, back to that “normal IaaS” MQ:
  • The MQ says “Rackspace has successfully pivoted from its ‘Open Cloud Company,’ OpenStack-oriented strategy, and returned to its roots as “a company of experts emphasizing its managed service expertise and superior support experience.”
  • Also: “Rackspace will continue to divert investment from its Public Cloud to other areas of its business, rather than try to compete directly for self-managed public cloud IaaS against market-leading providers that can rapidly deliver innovative capabilities at very low cost, or against established IT vendors that have much greater resources and global sales reach.”
  • See also Rachel’s analysis over at RedMonk.

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Finally, check out a tad of commentary on the deal in #32 of Pivotal Conversations.

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