Future Tech

MariaDB receives offer to go private more than year after disastrous IPO

Tan KW
Publish date: Wed, 21 Feb 2024, 10:17 AM
Tan KW
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Future Tech

MariaDB has confirmed a possible offer of $37.3 million from private equity company K1 Investment Management to take the recently troubled database company private.

In an announcement last night, MariaDB plc, which is separate from the MariaDB Foundation running the open source project, said it had received an "unsolicited non-binding indicative proposal to acquire the company's shares through K5 Private Investors," a fund controlled by K1. MariaDB said its board was reviewing the offer and taking advice.

K1 first announced its possible offer of $0.55 per share late on Friday. The value is equivalent to $37.3 million. Estimates of the company's valuation based on its current share price are around $23 million.

K1 said the offer represented a 189 percent premium to MariaDB's closing share price on February 5 and a 114 percent premium to MariaDB's average closing share price of the last 30 calendar days.

MariaDB plc, which has had a tough time since the beginning of last year, was sharded out of MySQL, the open source relational database that dates from 1995. MariaDB Server is the fully open source version, run by the foundation under the GPL v2 GNU license.

MariaDB Enterprise Server is also GPL v2 and available from the plc on a subscription arrangement that includes support. MariaDB products such as MaxScale - a database proxy designed to improve high availability, scalability, and security of MariaDB Server - is available on the Business Source License (BSL), which means the source code is always publicly available and non-production use of the code is always free. The licensor can also make an Additional Use Grant allowing limited production use. Source code is guaranteed to become open at a certain point in time.

The company floated on the New York Stock Exchange in late 2022, having announced a plan to go public via special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Angel Pond, which initially valued the company at $672 million.

However, in April last year, it cut a number of jobs and reiterated a "going concern" warning over its medium-term financial viability. The Plc said it was seeking additional capital.

In May, the company was in "advanced discussions with a large commercial bank about a loan facility." Later that month, it replaced former CEO Michael Howard with Paul O'Brien, who remains in the role. In August, it said discussions for additional capital continued as it neared maturity on an existing loan plan.

In October, MariaDB plc announced access to a new $26.5 million loan facility but said it was ditching strategic products and cutting 28 percent of the workforce. The move to end product lines, which included its DBaaS service, baffled analysts.

In December, it spun out the SkySQL DBaaS to be owned by a newly established cloud database company of the same name. ®



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