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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich
Three years agoIntel placed a $742 million wager on Cloudera and labeled it the company's "single largest data center technology investment in its history."
Thus far, it's produced a lot of red ink.
Cloudera set its preliminary IPO price on Monday at $12 to $14 a share, well below half of Intel's May 2014 purchase price of $30.92.
All told, Intel invested $766.5 million in Cloudera, a stake that at the high end of the IPO range would be worth $348.2 million. Had the chipmaker just buried that cash in the S&P 500, it would now be worth about $925
Founded in 2008, Cloudera is one of several Silicon Valley companies that's commercializing an open source programming framework calledHadoop, which helps businesses process large amounts of disparate data.
Intel invested in Cloudera as part of a strategic partnership at a time when private market valuations for hot start-ups were in the stratosphere.Hortonworks, Cloudera's top competitor, went public in December
Cloudera's pricing "is largely due to Hortonworks' discounted valuation levels and growing perceived risk from public cloud players, such asAmazon andGoogle," wrote Rohit Kulkarni, managing director and head of research at SharesPost.
At $14 a share, Cloudera would be worth $1.79 billion, down from $4.1 billion when Intel invested.
Cloudera is also burning cash as it ramps up spending to reach large prospective customers. While revenue in the fiscal year ended January climbed 57 percent to $261 million, the company spent over $200 million
Intel could still make money on its Cloudera bet if it holds on to its shares and the stock rallies following the offering. And while a loss of a few hundred million dollars would sink many venture funds, Intel has a healthy $17.1 billion in cash on its balance sheet.