French Cloud Computing IPO Coins Europe’s Latest Tech Billionaire

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French cloud computing group OVHcloud made its debut on the Paris stock exchange on Friday, turning Polish-born founder Octave Klaba into Europe’s latest technology billionaire.

The shares traded slightly above their offering price of 18.5 euros on Friday, valuing the group at about 3.5 billion euros ($4.1 billion).

The IPO marks a big step for the group and Klaba, who arrived in France as a teenager and founded the company in 1999 in his backwaters hometown of Roubaix in northeastern France.

The move was also praised by the French government, which sees OVHcloud as a national and European champion that can compete against US giants Amazon and Google in cloud computing.

“A great day for French Tech!” French Digital Affairs Minister Cedric O wrote on Twitter. “A story of immigration, entrepreneurship, risk, determination, territory… and success!”

Klaba said the IPO “honours all those who share the same dream as us: to build a cloud provider that respects European values ​​and operates around the world.”

The 46-year-old and his family will retain 69.6 percent of the group, which is worth more than 2.4 billion euros at Friday’s prices.

OVHcloud is currently overshadowed by its US rivals, but it presents itself as a secure European alternative that ensures data is stored in accordance with EU law.

However, it has had some setbacks this year.

In March, a fire destroyed one of its facilities in eastern France, killing 12,000 to 16,000 customers.

And on Wednesday, on the eve of its IPO, it had to apologize to customers after an outage caused by “human error” caused its servers to crash.

Cloud computing groups provide space on their servers for other companies to store their data and run their IT systems.

The IPO is the third major public equity offering by a French technology company this year, following the IPO of music streaming company Believe in June and cybersecurity specialist Exclusive Networks in September.

OVHcloud employs 2,400 people and reported an annual turnover of 632 million euros last year.

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© 2021 AFP

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