Andreessen: Ops, I Did It Again
Well, Marc Andreessen must be grinning into his cornflakes this morning. At market open today Hewlett-Packard said it had agreed to acquire Opsware, the enterprise-software company Andreessen founded back in 1999, for $1.65 billion. H-P will pay $14.25 for each share of Opsware, a 39% premium over Friday’s close of $10.28.
At that price, Andreessen–who owns nearly 6.5 million shares–stands to make $92 million off the deal. Which is a nice bit of validation, given Opsware’s inauspicious beginnings as Loudcloud, a managed hosting company remembered more for a string of heavy losses and a lackluster 2001 IPO.
“Loudcloud took off like a rocketship, raised $350 million in equity and debt financing, went public in March 2001, and was rapidly nearing $100 million in annual recurring managed-services revenue when the entire market blew up and virtually all of our competitors and peers went bankrupt,” Andreessen recalls in a blog post announcing Opsware’s sale to HP. “In September 2002, we did a complete restart as a public company–we sold our managed-services business to EDS and turned Loudcloud into Opsware, a software company based on the core intellectual property developed at Loudcloud. Over the next five years, we executed our original vision–automation of large-scale modern data centers and computer systems. … Today we have announced that Opsware is being acquired by Hewlett-Packard for more than $1.6 billion in cash, or $14.25 per share. For Opsware, this means that our vision will now get delivered at much higher scale–being part of H-P’s software business will ensure that our software will be used by a much larger number of organizations and have an even more dramatic impact on the industry than we would possibly have been able to reach by ourselves over the next several years.”
And for Andreessen, whose first start-up, Netscape Communications Corp., marked the beginning of the Internet boom of the late ’90s, it’s proof that contrary to what F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, there are second acts in some American lives. “One of my favorite facts about this deal,” he wrote, “is that at our acquisition price of $14.25 per share, everyone who bought and held stock in Loudcloud or Opsware in the public market at any time made money.”