Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) agreed to buy cloud-services company Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) for $4.3 billion.
The New York-based private equity firm will buy San Antonio-based Rackspace for $32 a share in an all-cash transaction, according to a statement. As part of the deal, funds managed by Searchlight Capital Partners will make an equity investment in the acquired company.
Rackspace has struggled to compete in the accelerating race to move corporate computing to the cloud. While the company still counts Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Microsoft Corp. (NYSEL MSFT) as rivals, Rackspace has more recently started helping companies shift their IT operations to its larger competitors’ servers. Becoming a private company will give Rackspace the time and space to complete the transition.
Rackspace is “gaining traction, but they’re very small,” said Joshua Yatskowitz, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. “Bringing it out of the public eye can make that transition a lot easier for them.”
In 2015, Apollo acquired Presidio Inc., an information-technology consulting company. The private-equity firm also has taken a number of companies private this year, including home-security company ADT Corp., which at $12 billion was the biggest private equity-backed acquisition announced in 2015. Apollo also acquired crane companies AmQuip Crane Rental and Maxim Crane Works and also announced plans to purchase the Fresh Market.
Apollo’s advisers for the deal are Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C), Deutsche Bank AG, Barclays Plc and RBC Capital Markets. Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal adviser. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) acted as Rackspace’s financial adviser. The company’s legal adviser was Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
“This transaction will provide Rackspace with more flexibility to manage the business for long-term growth and enhance our product offerings,” Graham Weston, chairman and co-founder of Rackspace, said in the statement. “As a private company, Rackspace will be best positioned to capitalize on our early leadership of the fast-growing managed cloud services industry.”