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Over the years, European Linux power SUSE has changed owners several times.
First, it was acquired by Novell in 2004. Then, Attachmate, with some Microsoft funding, bought Novell and SUSE in 2010. This was followed in 2014, when Micro Focus purchased Attachmate and SUSE was spun off as an independent division. Now, SUSE has announced EQT will buy it from Micro Focus for $2.5 billion.
The acquisition is subject to Micro Focus shareholder and regulatory approvals. It’s expected to go through in early 2019.
EQT is a Swedish-based private equity firm with €50 billion in raised capital. The company’s overarching goal is to transform its acquisitions “into great and sustainable companies by making genuine, permanent improvements.” EQT also believes that environmental, social, and corporate governance factors are fundamental to business success and strong investment performance. Open-source software fits well nicely with EQT’s social responsibility mission.
Micro Focus, which has seen losses in recent months as well as the resignation of its CEO, will appreciate the forth-coming cash infusion. Its stock, while still over 50 percent down from its 52-week high, saw a modest bump from news of the sale.
With this new ownership, SUSE expects to further its Linux offerings and its emerging open-source cloud and container product groups. After the acquisition, SUSE expects to operate globally as an independent company. To ensure continuity, SUSE expects staffing, customer relationships, partnerships, product and service offering, commitment to open-source leadership, and support for the key open-source communities to remain unchanged.
With seven years of continuous expansion under his belt, SUSE CEO Nils Brauckmann is expected to stay on. In its last quarter SUSE had $164.4 million in revenues and a solid growth rate of 13.1 percent.
Brauckmann said in a statement, “The next chapter in SUSE’s development will continue, and even accelerate the momentum generated over recent years. Together with EQT we will benefit both from further investment opportunities and having the continuity of a leadership team focused on securing long-term profitable growth combined with a sharp focus on customer and partner success. The current leadership team has managed SUSE through a period of significant growth, and now, with continued investment in technology innovation and go to market capability, will further develop SUSE’s momentum going forward.”
Johannes Reichel, an EQT partner, added: “We are excited to partner with SUSE’s management in this attractive growth investment opportunity. We were impressed by the business’ strong performance over recent years as well as its strong culture and heritage as a pioneer in the open source space. These characteristics correspond well to EQT’s DNA of supporting and building strong and resilient companies, and driving growth. We look forward to entering the next period of growth and innovation together with SUSE.”
People outside the deal itself also think it’s a good one. Chip Childers, Cloud Foundry Foundation CTO, said: “SUSE’s acquisition by EQT is a strong validation of the high-growth industry that has formed at the nexus of open-source software, cloud technologies and enterprise demand for digital transformation.”
This looks like a good acquisition for SUSE. With more funds for growth and owners willing to give SUSE its head in Linux and further open-source software development, SUSE should flourish.