Lights, camera, Actian! Open-source database biz sold for $300m

Indian outsourcer HCL and private equity outfit SEP open their wallet


HCL Technologies and Sumeru Equity Partners have slurped privately-owned database (DB) supplier Actian for $330m from current owner Garnett Helfrich Capital.

Indian-based IT services biz HCL, will own 80 per cent ($264mn) of Actian with SEP having the other 20 per cent ($66m). Actian will operate as a separate entity, led by current CEO and President, Rohit De Souza.

Actian's tech assets include Vector, which it claimed is the world’s fastest columnar DB; hybrid cloud data integration platform DataConnect; and hybrid DB, X, which merges Ingres relational and Vector analytics.

C Vijayakumar, HCL’s President and CEO, said the buy will beef up its data management tools and platforms to make a hybrid system - combining transactionsal and analytics data.

Actian, or Ingres as it once was, has always stood under the shadow of market giants including Oracle, Microsoft and IBM. Here's a potted history of the business:

  • 1980 - Relational Technology Inc founded,
  • 1989 - RTI rebranded to Ingres,
  • 1990 - ASK Group wolfed down declining Ingres for $110mn,
  • 1994 - Computer Associates (CA) bought declining ASK Group for $310mn,
  • 2005 - CA spun out Ingres Corporation to Garnett Helfrich Capital,
  • 2010 - Ingres buys Vectorwise,
  • Late 2010 - Ingres changed name to Actian (a play on Action Applications,)
  • 2011 - Steve Shine became CEO,
  • December 2012 - Actian acquired Versant for $37mn, with the Versant product eventually becoming Actian NoSQL database,
  • April 2013 - Actian slurped Pervasive Software for $162mn,
  • November 2016 - Shine era ended with exec re-org as board member David Murphy became exec chairman, Gregg Hampton was new CFO and Rohit de Souza the CEO.
  • April 2017 - Ingres and former Vector product combined in new Actian X product. ®

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