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Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cloudera is returning to the private markets, after an underwhelming four-year run as a public company.

Why it matters: Cloudera was one of the earliest enterprise software unicorns.

Driving the news: Private equity firms Clayton Dubilier & Rice and KKR this morning announced plans to buy the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company for $5.3 billion in cash, including assumed debt, or around $16 per share.

  • Each firm will acquire an equal stake, but word is that CD&R led the deal (one of its operating partners will become Cloudera's chairman).
  • Sixteen dollars is a 24% premium to Friday’s closing price. But it's barely above where Cloudera went public in April 2017, and below where it closed its first trading day. And all of that is way below the $30.92 per share that Intel paid to invest while Cloudera was still privately held.

Cloudera's worst of times was mid-2019, just months after completing its merger with Hortonworks. Shares slipped to just $5.29 on disastrous earnings, which ultimately led to a C-suite shakeup and Carl Icahn buying into the company. By last summer, Cloudera was talking with prospective buyers (including CD&R).

  • Yes, today's deal is yet another case of an activist investor getting what it wants from a Silicon Valley company.

The big question now is how CD&R and KKR plan to help Cloudera achieve the promise Intel originally saw in it, or that public market investors (very briefly) saw from the Hortonworks merger (when the combined value topped $5 billion).

  • So far, I'm just hearing private equity platitudes about operational efficiency and how Cloudera management will have more flexibility to transition away from its Hadoop roots without public market scrutiny.
  • No word at all yet on how much extra debt the deal will add to Cloudera's balance sheet (it already has around $500 million of debt and $1.38 billion of total liabilities).
  • CD&R is a bit of a buyside wildcard. It remains best known for industrial deals, although does have a substantial tech portfolio. KKR has a deeper tech history.

Data dump: Shortly after the deal announcement, Cloudera reported quarterly earnings and beat most analyst expectations.

The bottom line: Cloudera is a reminder of how fast tech trends can change, and how private equity will be there to pounce if companies fail to keep up.

Go deeper

Updated 55 mins ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."