British software company Micro Focus International has agreed to sell SUSE Linux and its associated software business to Swedish private equity group EQT Partners for $2.535 billion.
SUSE is one of the oldest open source companies and perhaps the first to provide enterprise Linux service. It has over 1400 employees all over the globe and company made a sale of $320 million in 1 months ending in October 2017.
The agreed amount of $2.535 is 26.7 times adjusted operating profit of the SUSE software unit for the 12 months to end-October 2017.
Not the first time SUSE got sold
If you know the history of SUSE, you would know that this is not the first time SUSE has changed its owner.
One year after Linux was released to the public, a few German students created SUSE acronym for Software- und System-Entwicklung (Software and Systems Development). They sold disks of a modified version of Slackware Linux and provided support to enterprises initially.
In 2003, US-based software company Novell acquired SUSE for $210 million. Novell had been trying to compete Microsoft in operating system market for a long time and acquisition of SUSE was part of their strategy.
Even SUSE couldn’t stop the downfall of Novell and in 2010, Novell was acquired for $2.2 billion by another US-based company, The Attachmate Group. The Attachmate Group was backed by Microsoft and Microsoft thus acquired over 800 of Novell’s patent. Note that Novell had a lot more assets apart from SUSE Linux business.
Unfortunately, SUSE could not be attached to The Attachmate Group for long. In 2014, Attachmate was merged into British software company Micro Focus for $1.2 billion.
And today, Micro Focus sold the SUSE software business to EQT for $2.5 billion.
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SUSE is excited with new prospects
SUSE Linux is thrilled with the EQT partnership. As mentioned on its blog, the focus will be on expanding SUSE further in IT infrastructure field.
“This is exciting news for all of us here at SUSE and it marks the next step in our trajectory of growth and momentum. The investment and support provided by EQT will enable us to continue driving our build and buy strategy of expanding both organically and through technology acquisition.”
The open nature of SUSE will remain open
I know what you are thinking. What happens to openSUSE? What happens to other open source projects by SUSE? Will the new leadership kill the openness of SUSE?
SUSE team is aware of such concern and thus they have assured that it won’t deviate from its commitment to open source.
In keeping with our 25-year history, SUSE intends to remain committed to an open source development and business model and actively participate in communities and projects to bring open source innovation to the enterprise as high quality, reliable and usable solutions. Our truly open, open source model, where open refers to the freedom of choice provided to customers and not just the code used in our solutions, is embedded in SUSE culture, differentiates us in the market place and has been key to our years of success.
What do you think of this move? Is it good or bad?
Open Source is the new buzzword in the IT industry and I don’t think that EQT will try to influence it negatively. What are your opinions on it? Will it help SUSE and thus openSUSE become more independent or not? Do share your views.