Novell, a software company that rose to power along with Intel-based computers but failed to keep up with rivals such as Microsoft and Red Hat, announced today an end to its independence with a Microsoft-boosted $2.2 billion acquisition by Attachmate.
Under the agreement, privately held Attachmate will pay $6.10 per share for Novell, a 9 percent premium over Friday's closing price of $5.59 and a 28 percent premium over the last public trading day before Elliott Associates made an offer of $5.75 per share in March. Novell rejected that offer.
Microsoft's interest, though, apparently helped make a deal happen this time around. Novell is selling "certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings LLC, a consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft," for $450 million in cash that's part of the payment through Attachmate.
According to a regulatory filing, CPTN will get 882 Novell patents: "Also on November 21, 2010, Novell entered into a Patent Purchase Agreement...with CPTN Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and consortium of technology companies organized by Microsoft Corporation. The Patent Purchase Agreement provides that, upon the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Patent Purchase Agreement, Novell will sell to CPTN all of Novell's right, title and interest in 882 patents...for $450 million in cash."
Attachmate, which is run by an investment group led by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital, and Thoma Bravo, describes itself as a company that "enables IT organizations to extend mission-critical services and assures they are managed, secure, and compliant."
"We believe this transaction is great news for our customers. Novell has a long history of innovation and market leadership, and this tradition will be preserved and built upon through this transaction," Novell Chief Executive Ron Hovsepian told customers in an e-mail about the deal.
Novell rose to success through sales of its NetWare operating system, widely used in the 1990s on Intel servers to run services used by PCs running Microsoft's DOS and Windows operating systems. It also sold higher-level server software for functions such as e-mail and, for a time, the commercial rights to AT&T's Unix and the WordPerfect suite of software that competed with Microsoft Office. … Read more