Attachmate Buys Novell for $2.2B—the End of an Era

11/22/10Follow @gthuang

Novell, the Waltham, MA-based networking and workload management software firm (NASDAQ: NOVL), said today it has agreed to be acquired by Seattle-based Attachmate for $2.2 billion in cash. The deal represents a purchase price of $6.10 per share, a 9 percent increase over Novell’s closing stock price on Nov. 19.

Novell also said it is selling off “certain intellectual property assets” to CPTN Holdings, a consortium of tech companies organized by Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), for $450 million in cash. All in all, this sounds like a pretty sad end for a company that once rivaled Microsoft. (Back in 2008, my colleague Wade reported on Microsoft’s and Novell’s unlikely Windows-Linux partnership.)

Attachmate is owned by a private investor group led by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital, and Thoma Bravo. The company, which helps businesses manage and deliver IT services, is a Seattle-area software icon.

This is the second $2 billion-plus tech acquisition to span the Boston and Seattle areas in as many weeks. Last week, Hopkinton, MA-based data storage company EMC (NYSE: EMC) said it is acquiring Seattle-based Isilon Systems (NASDAQ: ISLN) for $2.25 billion.

Today’s announcement ends many months of speculation about the future of Novell. Back in March, Novell rejected a $2 billion buyout bid from hedge fund Elliott Associates, saying the proposed $5.75-per-share offer was too low. As part of the current transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, Elliott Management (which includes Elliott Associates) will become an equity shareholder in Attachmate.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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