Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) $1.6 billion acquisition of Opsware (OPSW) announced this morning strengthens its hand in the market for automated data center management software. Corporate data centers are getting bigger and more complex, so software to automate it all is a growth area for HP.
The big winner in this deal, though, is Marc Andreessen. Yes, that Marc Andreessen. Opsware was his second startup after Netscape (originally dubbed Loudcloud). At HP's offer of $14.25 a share, he stands to make
$92 $138 million off the deal personally ( according to Yahoo Finance, he owns 6.5 million shares Update: according to the May 25, 2007 proxy, he owns 9.7 million shares.) Now, all he needs to do is sell Ning (which he also co-founded), and he'll have a hat trick.
Opsware has had many ups and downs since it was formed during the dotcom bubble in September, 1999. As Andreessen notes on his blog:
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.
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 on our original vision -- automation of large-scale modern datacenters and computer systems.
We have become the clear market leader, and today our software is in use at more than 350 of the largest and most advanced businesses and government agencies, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Home Depot, GE, Microsoft, Samsung, Comcast, Tivo, and the US Department of Defense. Along the way, Opsware has grown to more than $100 million in annual revenue and 550 employees, and has become one of the fastest-growing software companies in the world.
And you thought data-center software was boring.