Attachmate buying Novell for $2.2 billion

Novell is also selling certain intellectual property assets to Microsoft-led CPTN Holdings

Novell announced Monday it has agreed to be acquired by Attachmate for $2.2 billion, ending months of speculation over its future.

The company has also agreed to sell certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings, a technology consortium led by Microsoft, for $450 million in cash, a payment "reflected in the merger consideration to be paid by Attachmate."

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Attachmate is backed by private equity firms Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital, and Thoma Bravo. It sells software for terminal emulation, fraud detection, and other purposes. The company shares many customers with Novell and its product portfolios are complementary, according to a statement.

Novell is known for Suse Linux, GroupWise email server sofware, data center management, and virtualization software. Attachmate plans to run Novell as two separate business units, Novell and Suse.

It was not immediately clear which of Novell's assets will be sold to the Microsoft group.

Novell's board decided to make the agreements after "a thorough review of a broad range of alternatives to enhance stockholder value," CEO Ron Hovsepian said in a statement.

Attachmate's offer of $6.10 per share follows the $5.75 a share offer made in March by investment firm Elliott Management, one of Novell's largest shareholders. Novell rejected that offer. But as part of the deal announced Monday, Elliott is to become an equity shareholder in Attachmate, according to a statement.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com.

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