SUSE IPO disappoints

EQT, the Swedish-based private equity firm, spun SUSE Europe's leading Linux distributor out on the Frankfurt Exchange, but its price didn't budge much from its initial offering price.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Swedish private equity firm EQT had high hopes for its SUSE IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and set the European Linux and cloud power's IPO price at €30 per share. Alas, SUSE's shares opened at €29.50 per share. 

By the close of business on May 20th, the stock crept up to €30.39. This gave it a market cap of around €5 billion (approximately $6.1 billion). This is nothing to sneeze at, but it wasn't what EQT hoped for either. Before the IPO, EQT had sought an IPO price as high as €34 per share.

Still, this was no failure. SUSE and its backers sold 37.8 million shares in the IPO, for €1.1 billion. EQT is still keeping a stake. SUSE itself continues to do well with reported revenue of $503 million for the 2020 financial year.

The Germany-based company has changed owners several times over the years. First, SUSE was acquired by Novell in 2004. Then, Attachmate, with some Microsoft funding, bought Novell and SUSE in 2010. Next, in 2014, Micro Focus purchased Attachmate and SUSE was spun off as an independent division. Finally, EQT purchased SUSE from Micro Focus for $2.5 billion in 2018.

SUSE has also been expanding beyond Linux. In late 2020, SUSE bought Rancher Labs in a major Kubernetes move. Like its Linux rivals Canonical and Red Hat, SUSE believes its future lies not just with the Linux plumbing that underlies most enterprise-level technology but in containers and clouds as well. 

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