MariaDB sells to funds – Le Monde Informatique

In the end, MariaDB shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favor of the offer from the trio of investment funds. However, this acquisition raises the question of the publisher’s next strategy in an increasingly fragile financial situation.

MariaDB shareholders will not succumb after all to the Progress Software menu for the acquisition of open source RDBMS specialist, MySQL fork. They announced their support (up to 68.51% of the capital) to the proposal of the trio of funds K1, Meridian Bidco (a subsidiary of K1) and K5 Capital Advisors. For the record, the publisher received a buyout offer last February from an investment company Californian K1 Investment Management for $37 million.

It must be said that the company has been facing many problems recently. The supplier has had a number of layoffs, a change in management, a division of activities, a warning to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company’s financial difficulties began in December 2022, when it decided to go public through a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company), i.e. a non-operating company, with Angel Pond Holdings. After the company went public, its market capitalization dropped from $445 million to just over $10 million at the end of 2023.

Less debt and a strategy to confirm

However, the latest financial results offer a glimmer of hope with losses falling from $11.9 million to $3.5 million. “We have demonstrated our ability to quickly turn around our financial position and are optimistic about the future performance of the business,” MariaDB CEO Paul O’Brien said in a statement accompanying the financial results. Carl Olofson, vice president of research and database analyst at IDC, said the key to determining what happens next is knowing why the acquisition happened in the first place. There are two strategies for the buyer, “the first is to break up the company and use its assets, which will not be the case here because the company doesn’t really have any assets”. “The second thing is to believe that with good management and a good attitude, the company can go well beyond the current situation, make fabulous profits, sell it, and everyone leaves happy.” .

The challenge for investment funds will be juggling the commercial activities of MariaDB and the open source model jealously guarded by the community. The aim is to add paid services, as the provider has already done with MaxScale, ColumnStore or Galera Cluster, as well as consulting, migration and cloud services. The consultant says that MariaDB “was adding some really interesting and innovative features, but some were removed, which meant they didn’t have the money to continue and support their development.”

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