Database management system provider MariaDB plc has received an unsolicited offer from a venture capital firm to acquire the company.
First reported by the Register, the disclosure was made in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the filing, MariaDB says that pursuant to the Irish Takeover Panel Act 1997 and Takeover Rules 2022, the company’s board of directors had received an unsolicited nonbinding indicative proposal. It was from Runa Capital II GP as general partner of Runa Capital Fund II, L.P. on behalf of itself and its other investment affiliates to acquire 100% of the ordinary shares of the company.
In an announcement linked to the filing, MariaDB did not rule out accepting the offer, saying it’s reviewing and taking advice regarding the possible offer. “The possible offer may or may not lead to an offer being made for the entire share capital of the company,” the announcement reads, before adding that there is no certainty that a solid offer is forthcoming.
MariaDB went public on the New York Stock Exchange in December, listing at $11.55 per share. However, it was not a particularly successful initial public offering, with the company’s share price down nearly 40%, to $6.70, on its first day of trading.
Fast forward to today, and as of the close of trading, MariaDB’s share price was sitting at 43 cents, although the stock was up to 45 cents in late trading. Suffice it to say, MariaDB is a company that has lost a lot of value for investors, with a market cap of $29.49 million, down 96% from a valuation of $672 million in February 2022 and 92% from its float valuation of $368 million.
Trouble at the company emerged earlier this year when it laid off 26 of its approximately 340-person workforce in February. In April, MariaDB warned that its revenue wouldn’t be enough to support its operations for the next 12 months and that it was looking for financing. Other reports in April painted a picture of serious dysfunction at the company, including an allegation that the founder of MariaDB, Ulf Michael Widenius, commonly known as Monty, had been in a screaming match with Chief Executive Officer Michael Howard at an all-hands meeting in front the company’s entire staff.
MariaDB’s potential suitor is an international venture capital firm headquartered in Luxembourg. The company typically invests in early-stage startups versus acquiring entire companies, but given how little MariaDB is now worth, perhaps it sees it as a cheap buy and a company it could turn around. Some of the firm’s most successful investments include Nginx Inc., acquired by F5 Networks Inc. for $670 million in March 2019, and Capptain, acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2014.