A would-be data management juggernaut got its first public airing as Cloudera -- a combination of formerly separate Hadoop pioneers Cloudera and Hortonworks -- as the newly stand-alone vendor's leaders publicly mapped the road it intends to take forward. "The combination has made sense for many years," said Tom Reilly, CEO of the combined companies, who held a similar role at the former Cloudera. Others agreed these leaders in open-source-oriented big data tooling -- built along lines drawn by big web companies, such as Google and Yahoo -- are better together than apart and can offer users a unified big data platform. Reilly spoke as part of a prerecorded webcast heralding the new company, which came after confirmation that shareholders of Cloudera and Hortonworks had approved a merger of the firms -- a deal first disclosed last October. Cloudera faces distinct challenges, as it moves data applications to the cloud and tries to convey users to the fast-growing new world of machine learning and AI.
With the advantage of two sets of eyes and ears, one of us got the news live while the other just saw it in a series of cryptic text messages upon landing at Newark Airport a couple hours later: Cloudera and Hortonworks are entering a merger of equals that sees Cloudera stockholders owning roughly 60% of the combined company. Larry Dignan delivered the news flash yesterday: It puts together a company with roughly a $5 billion valuation and $750 million in revenues, with players that have been slowly advancing toward cash flow positive balance sheets. Until now, we thought that IBM would have been the more likely suitor for Hortonworks, given an OEM relationship that was finding increasing commercial traction. But as IBM of late has been busily pivoting the future of its business from Watson cognitive computing toward a boarder implementation of AI, not to mention the urgency of building the IBM Cloud business, there's been bigger fish to fry. The deal brings together two formerly fierce rivals.
The two leading Hadoop-based big data platforms, Cloudera and Hortonworks, are to merge. In a joint statement, the two firms say the merger is "as a strategic combination [that] accelerates market development, fuels innovation and produces a substantial benefit for customers, partners and community." For the last two or three years, the main Hadoop vendors (although none of them mention Hadoop much these days) have been seeking to differentiate themselves product-wise through proprietary add-ons in the case of Cloudera and MapR and rigorous adherence to the Apache stable in Hortonworks' case. RedR has had its own proprietary file system from the beginning, which has always set it apart on a more fundamental level, but for Hortonworks and Cloudera the differences in their ecosystems have always felt more cosmetic with little to choose between them. On that level at least, therefore, the merger makes sense.
Former rivals Cloudera and Hortonworks announced a merger, bringing together two once red-hot, heavily VC-backed unicorns that have both struggled to effectively monetise their open source-backed solutions. The two publicly trading companies will "combine in an all-stock merger of equals," the joint announcement stated. "This compelling merger will create value for our respective stockholders and allow customers, partners, employees and the open source community to benefit from the enhanced offerings, larger scale and improved cost competitiveness inherent in this combination," said Rob Bearden, chief executive officer of Hortonworks. If we are assigning winners and losers it looks like Cloudera is the dominant partner in this negotiation, with Cloudera stockholders due to own approximately 60%t of the equity of the combined company and Cloudera's CEO Tom Reilly leading the newly joint business, with Bearden joining the board of directors. Subject to regulatory and stockholder approval the deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.