Rackspace, the cloud computing player that has been for sale since May, ended that process today, saying it intends to remain independent.
Investors apparently didn't like the sound of that, and Rackspace shares fell by more than 16 percent after hours.
The company also named a new CEO to replace Graham Weston, its largest shareholder who stepped into the role following the unexpected departure of Lanham Napier in February.
The new CEO is Taylor Rhodes, Rackspace's president, who joined the company in 2007 and has been overseeing its global operations.
The moves bring an end to what had been a drawn-out process in which numerous companies were suggested as possible suitors. IBM, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and CenturyLink were all rumored to have been in the running at one time or another.
All of them save CenturyLink had taken themselves out of contention with public statements or by simply ignoring the deal chatter. And CenturyLink had rather long odds against getting a $7 billion deal for Rackspace done on favorable financing terms.
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As I argued last month, the more likely scenario at Rackspace, given the lack of well-funded willing buyers was — and is — to do nothing, or more accurately, to stay the course.
Having failed to find a buyer, Rackspace may turn to some deal-making of its own. The company said on a conference call that rather than buy back shares, it may seek to buy some other companies.
They would have to be small; Rackspace has only $340 million in cash on its balance sheet and about $15 million in long-term debt. But for now, unless a hostile suitor steps forward, we're done with wondering who might buy Rackspace.
—By Arik Hesseldahl, Re/code.net.
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