Novell Deals Done

Novell Deals Done

Summary: Novell has just announced that Attachmate has acquired the company and it has licensed it patent portfolio to the Microsoft-headed CPTN Holdings.

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As expected, the buyout of Linux power Novell by Attachmate has finally gone through. On April 27th, Attachmate acquired Novell for $6.10 per share in cash--approximately $2.2-billion. With this deal completed, Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group, the parent company of Attachmate Corporation. Immediately prior to the merger Novell completed it's "previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash."

According to the company, "As a result of the merger, Novell's common stock will cease trading on The NASDAQ Global Select Market at the close of business on April 27, 2011, and Novell expects to de-register and suspend its reporting obligations. BNY Mellon Shareowner Services has been appointed to serve as the agent for payment of the merger consideration to Novell's stockholders, and will promptly mail to stockholders of record instructions on how to surrender their stock certificates and receive payment for their shares."

Attachmate has attempted to assure Novell customers and openSUSE users that it will be business as usual under the new regime. One interesting change though has already popped up, according to the Attachmate Group site, Novell and SuSE will be separate companies. Novell acquired SuSE for its Linux operating system in 2003.

Attachmate, which started as a terminal emulation company in 1982, is privately held. Its primary owners are the private equity firms Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo. Today, the Attachmate side of the company still works in X Window and terminal emulation. Its other half, NetIQ, sells and services systems and security management software. It would seem Novell will continue to sell the company's directory services and IT management programs, while SuSE will continue to focus on Linux.

What this will mean for the management of these re-seperated groups is an unanswered question at this moment. One would presume that they'd each have their own executive teams.

The Attachmate/Novell deal could have not have been made without Microsoft's help. Attachmate, a rather sleepy company over the last decade, simply didn't have the resources to buy Novell.

Directly speaking, Microsoft, with the help of its partners, Apple, EMC, and Oracle, in the CPTN Group has not, though, actually bought Novell's patents as most people would understand the word "bought." Instead, CPTN was forced, by the U.S. Department of Justice and the German Federal Cartel Office to re-sell the patents back to Attachmate. In return, the CPTN gets licensing rights to use the patents.

For Microsoft and friends, the most vexing part of the deal is that All of the Novell patents will be subject to the GNU General Public License, Version 2 (GPLv2) and the Open Invention Network (OIN)patent-pool agreements. In other words, Microsoft can't use these patents against Linux or other open-source programs.

Now that the deals are done, we'll have to see if Attachmate lives up to its promises to keep supporting Linux. Since Novell's-excuse me-SuSE's main business is Linux, I can only hope that this will be the case. If not, well Red Hat and Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, will be glad for the business.

Related Stories:

Microsoft gets Novell's Patents rights but must share them with Open-Source Software

OpenSUSE 11.4: SUSE Linux Revitalized

Novell's Stockholders approve Attachmate buyout but the Deal's far from done

The London Stock Exchange moves to Novell Linux

Topics: Banking, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Software

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23 comments
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  • So Apple, EMC, and Oracle had no intentions of sueing?

    You keep say "Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft" while I noticed there are other equal partners in this group.

    You have to lose this unhealthy obsession with MS, you're missing al the other companies out there doing good and bad thngs.
    John Zern
    • RE: Novell Deals Done

      @John Zern
      That is because Microsoft is the 800 pound gorilla and would use those patents to try to destroy all competition in it's way. Sorry the truth hurts you, but that is the way it is.
      linux for me
      • RE: Novell Deals Done

        @linux for me And Apple is not an 800 lb gorilla? Apple has issued more lawsuits than I can think of. And Oracle has been pretty mean too.
        DevGuy_z
      • RE: Novell Deals Done

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    • RE: Novell Deals Done

      @John Zern <br><br>That's because Microsoft are known for conducting underhanded proxy wars, they funded the SCO fiasco.<br><br>MS dare not challenge Linux head on with patents as it would have IBM's pat portfolio levelled against it not to mention all the other ION members (sans Novell)
      Alan Smithie
      • RE: Novell Deals Done

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    • RE: Novell Deals Done

      @John Zern There's nothing equal about this deal. It's Microsoft and the rest are along for the ride. In any case, the DoJ and the Germans made it clear. Either give up the patents or the deal wasn't going to go through. They elected to give up the patent ownership for the right to license them. The flip side is that while they can't use them against open-source companies, the open-source companies can't use these patents against them either.

      Steven
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  • RE: Novell Deals Done

    We use Novell and Attachmate software at my company. The Attachmate stuff works great, but I can't stand Novell. I am not sorry to see them get swallowed up by Attachmate.
    Bates_
  • Message has been deleted.

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  • Interesting deal.

    To me, Microsoft seemed to be trying for a two-fer: they would have liked to have had leverage against the Linux community, but they also needed protection from it. They got the latter, just not the former.

    Meanwhile, everyone gets to use Novell/SuSE's patented tech under GPLv2/OIN, which is good for just about everyone ... except Attachmate, which doesn't get to draw license fees for the technology ... that they didn't really pay for in the first place, since it looks like it was largely MS's money (though the CPTN partners must have chipped in something ... we just don't hear about their shares).

    All in all, an interesting outcome that I think will ultimately benefit everyone -- and not just the companies that are directly involved.
    jscott69
  • So far so good, but hopefully (open)SUSE will live on

    No harm to Linux in general, thanks to the US and German authorities. Good.

    But I also hope that (open)SUSE will remain a major player: it's a fine distro. Good German quality. I'd hate to see it dwindle.
    pjotr123
  • RE: Novell Deals Done

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  • RE: Novell Deals Done

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