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MariaDB, the commercial company behind the popular open source database of the same name, has confirmed plans to become a public company through merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

A drop-in MySQL replacement

Major companies from Google and Red Hat to Samsung and Deutsche Bank have used MariaDB through the years for storing, managing, and manipulating data across their applications. The core open source MariaDB project emerged initially as a fork of MySQL, after MySQL project’s creators grew concerned about its independence after Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL in 2008, which in turn was bought out by Oracle one year later.

To this day, MariaDB retains a close affinity with MySQL, and is considered a “drop-in replacement” for companies seeking a fully open source alternative to MySQL.

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Open source is a major selling point for investors and enterprises alike, as it typically attracts strong buy-in from developers — who increasingly drive purchasing decisions within companies — while it gives companies greater control of and visibility into their data.

Indeed, MariaDB is the latest in a long line of companies built on an open source foundation that have gone public, with the likes of data processing and analytics company Confluent becoming a $17 billion public company last year, while cloud computing infrastructure firm Hashicorp is now a $12 billion company following its December IPO.

MariaDB will hit the public markets via an existing New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)-listed SPAC called Angel Pond, which was set up by former Goldman Sachs partner, Theodore Wang, and Shihuang “Simon” Xie, an Alibaba cofounder. A SPAC, essentially, is a shell firm that raises money, goes public on a stock exchange, and then acquires a private company for the purpose of turning said private company into a public one — all while avoiding traditional IPO (initial public offering) processes.

Alongside the transaction, which gives MariaDB an enterprise valuation of $672 million, the company also secured $104 million in series D funding from new and existing investors.

Upon the transaction’s closing, which is expected in the second half of 2022, the combined entity will be called “MariaDB plc” and will be led by MariaDB’s current CEO Michael Howard.

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