Cloud services giant Rackspace has been acquired by “affiliates of certain funds” under global investment manager Apollo Global Management in a deal worth $4.3 billion.
Founded in 1998, San Antonio-based Rackspace provides a range of services aimed at enabling businesses to operate in the cloud. The company has traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) since 2008, but the acquisition announced today is essentially a means to take Rackspace private again.
Shareholders will be offered $32 a share in cash. The company says this equates to a 38 percent premium on Rackspace’s closing stock price on August 3 — the day before acquisition rumors first started to circulate. Indeed, it was these rumors that caused Rackspace’s stock to soar past the $30 mark, and is why it’s not using more recent numbers to convey the premium to shareholders.
While the Rackspace board of directors have already approved the deal, shareholders haven’t, though it’s expected that they will, given the company’s decline over the past few years. Indeed, the company’s shares hit a high of around $80 in 2013, but it’s been in steady decline since then, hitting a low of $18 in February this year.
“This transaction is the result of diligent analysis and thoughtful strategic deliberations by our board over many months,” said Graham Weston, cofounder and chairman of the board of Rackspace, in a news release. “Our board, with the assistance of independent advisors, determined that this transaction, upon closing, will deliver immediate, significant and certain cash value to our stockholders. We are also excited that this transaction will provide Rackspace with more flexibility to manage the business for long-term growth and enhance our product offerings. We are confident that as a private company, Rackspace will be best positioned to capitalize on our early leadership of the fast-growing managed cloud services industry.”
In a 2014 regulatory filing, Rackspace disclosed that it was exploring opportunities “ranging from partnership to acquisition,” but a few months later the company announced it was no longer for sale. Earlier this month, it offloaded its Cloud Sites hosting business to Liquid Web.
With plans for the acquisition and a return to being a private company now confirmed, Rackspace says it expects the transaction to close in the next four months.