Novell is no more. Pending the approval of stockholders and government regulators, the computer networking giant will be sold to Attachmate—best known for systems security and application integration—for US$2.2 billion, or $6.10 per share.
In a statement announcing the purchase, Attachmate said it will operate Novell as two divisions: SUSE Linux, and the rest of Novell, which includes the ZENworks virtualization software and other networking solutions. Further, Novell entered into an agreement to sell some of its intellectual property assets to a Microsoft-organized consortium: CPTN Holdings, which will pay $450 million in cash.
Attachmate has not yet provided a vision for which Novell products would be integrated into Attachmate’s portfolio. The company is owned by private investors Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo.
Microsoft was tight-lipped regarding the assets it will acquire, and Novell did not elaborate in its statement. Novell has been the corporate sponsor of the Mono project, an open-source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework; its future is now in question. The fate of Novell’s JBoss middleware system also is unclear at this time.
Novell entered into a patent agreement with Microsoft in November 2006 under which Microsoft paid Novell $240 million for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server maintenance and support coupons, and Novell paid about $40 million to Microsoft in royalty payments. Microsoft also agreed not to assert its patent rights against hobbyists, but that left commercial sponsors of Linux development projects unprotected.