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Why Cloudera’s IPO Pricing Isn’t As Bad As It Looks

Boom With A View by Erin Griffith: Social MediaBoom With A View by Erin Griffith: Social Media
Some startup "unicorns" are magical, and others are donkeys in party hats. Illustration by Aleksandar Savic

This article first appeared in Term Sheet, Fortune’s newsletter on deals and dealmakers. Sign up here.

The message around Cloudera’s IPO, which is expected to price on Thursday after the market closes, has been yikes. The company was last valued at $4.1 billion; its share pricing values the company at $1.79 at the top of the proposed range. That’s a significant discount. Yikes.

But here’s a different perspective from a site called IPO Candy: Don’t evaluate the success of Cloudera’s IPO based on its last round of funding in 2014, because that round, led by Intel, wasn’t made for financial reasons.

Rather, value Cloudera on its prior valuation, which Term Sheet readers might remember happened right before Intel swooped in and plunked down $740 million, doubling Cloudera’s valuation in a matter of weeks.

Three weeks before Intel invested, Cloudera had just closed a chunk of funding from T. Rowe Price, Google Ventures, and Michael Dell’s family office, valuing the company at $1.8 billion. By that measure, Cloudera’s IPO, if priced at the top of its proposed range, will be flat. It’s not a great three-year return on capital, but it’s not the money-losing house of horrors it’s made out to be, either.