Novell Completes Acquisition of SUSE LINUX

  • Novell brings enterprise infrastructure to Linux, becomes market's largest Linux vendor
  • Novell worldwide technical support will help enterprises deploy Linux with confidence
  • Completion of deal sets stage for $50 million IBM investment in Novell

13 January 2004

Novell today completed its acquisition of SUSE LINUX, a combination that brings global technical support, consulting and training services and industry-leading networking and security to Linux, and provides a compelling alternative for companies wishing to leverage the many benefits of open source. Novell now offers a full range of enterprise solutions on the Linux platform, from the server to the desktop. The closing of the $210 million cash deal also opens the door for completion of the $50 million investment of IBM in Novell announced November 4.

"Combining Novell's global presence and deep knowledge of enterprise software with SUSE LINUX's powerful technology makes Novell one of the strongest options for enterprise Linux literally overnight," said Jack Messman, chairman and CEO of Novell. "Novell's customers have long asked us to back Linux with our great networking software and technical support system. Now we're going even further – offering one of the top Linux distributions on the market. Customers interested in deploying Linux – whether in the data center or on the desktop – can now turn to Novell to get what they need."

SUSE LINUX becomes a product business unit within Novell with its sales and marketing handled by Novell's existing geographic business units and SUSE LINUX's current sales and marketing staff. Novell will keep the strong SUSE LINUX brand. While SUSE LINUX will retain its structure within Novell, its acquisition, like that of open-source company Ximian in August 2003, is aimed at promoting Linux adoption and integration broadly across Novell's product lines. SUSE LINUX engineers will work closely with Novell's product teams to ensure they maximize their respective synergies in joint development efforts. "We're making a commitment to open source, not to a product we're selling," said Messman. "With SUSE LINUX and Ximian, we gain some of the best open source developers in the market, and we want to leverage those capabilities in our development efforts across the entire product line."

"2004 will be the year of Linux," said Richard Seibt, the former CEO of SUSE LINUX who will join Novell and continue to manage SUSE LINUX as President. "Novell's global sales and support channels provide tremendous new avenues to get Linux – and especially SUSE LINUX – to market. Leveraging open source in your enterprise just got a whole lot easier."

In conjunction with the completion of the SUSE LINUX deal, Novell is also announcing an indemnification program designed to provide a measure of protection against certain intellectual property challenges to Linux. Details on that program are outlined in a separate press release issued today.

Novell Now Delivers Full Range of Linux Solutions
SUSE LINUX offers Linux server and desktop systems designed to address both large and small customer needs. SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server 8 for midsize to large companies provides core networking services with the high-availability and scalability features needed for data center deployments. SUSE LINUX Standard Server 8 offers a user-friendly interface and easy installation and configuration tools to deliver file, print, infrastructure, e-mail, Internet gateway, and application server capabilities to smaller business and departments. The SUSE LINUX Desktop provides a full-featured Linux productivity environment for end-users, with email, an office suite, web browsing, and remote administration features. SUSE LINUX Openexchange Server provides email, calendar, task setting and other collaboration tools to make enterprises more productive.

SUSE LINUX 9.0 – the first home user operating system platform to leverage AMD's Athlon 64 processor – enables easier Windows migration by supporting NTFS file systems and also gives experienced users a sneak peek at the enhanced capabilities of the 2.6 Linux kernel – with many of those capabilities back-ported into the 2.4 default kernel as well.

"Novell's acquisition of SUSE LINUX is great for Linux customers because of the depth of enterprise expertise and technical prowess that both companies bring to the table," said Martin Fink, vice president of Linux, HP. "Having strong partnerships with both Novell and SUSE LINUX, HP has been working closely with both companies and is excited to offer the resulting joint solutions which enable customers to deploy Linux applications with confidence."

With its acquisition of SUSE LINUX, Novell enhances the series of Linux-based solutions it already offers. Novell Nterprise Linux Services, which shipped in December 2003, provides integrated file, print, messaging, directory and management services on SUSE LINUX and Red Hat. The Novell ZENworks and Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise products manage Linux servers and desktops in mixed network environments. Ximian Desktop 2 provides a full-featured productivity and collaboration environment for the Linux desktop, while Ximian Connector for Evolution lets users of the Linux-based Evolution collaboration suite interact seamlessly with counterparts using Windows Exchange.

IBM Investment
The closing of the SUSE LINUX acquisition fulfills conditions for the $50 million investment by IBM in Novell announced November 4. In addition, the closing allows for completion of negotiations between Novell and IBM to extend the existing commercial agreements between IBM and SUSE LINUX for the continued support of SUSE LINUX on IBM's eServer products and middleware products and to provide for product and marketing support arrangements related to SUSE LINUX. Details on these efforts will be forthcoming.

Forward-looking Statements
This press release includes statements that are not historical in nature and that may be characterized as "forward-looking statements," including those related to future financial and operating results, benefits and synergies of the company's brands and strategies, future opportunities and the growth of the market for open source solutions. You should be aware that Novell's actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations of Novell management and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, Novell's ability to integrate acquired operations and employees, Novell's success in executing its Linux strategies, Novell's ability to deliver on its one Net vision of the Internet, Novell's ability to take a competitive position in the Linux industry, the outcome of potential Linux-related litigation, business conditions and the general economy, market opportunities, potential new business strategies, competitive factors, sales and marketing execution, shifts in technologies or market demand, and the other factors described in Novell's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the 2002 fiscal year. Novell disclaims any intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this press release.

About Novell

Novell, Inc. (Nasdaq: NOVL) is a leading provider of infrastructure software and services to over 50,000 customers in 43 countries. With more than 20 years of experience in data center, workgroup and desktop solutions, Novell's 6,000 employees, 5,000 partners and support centers around the world are meeting customer requirements for identity-driven computing and Linux solutions. By providing enterprise-class software and support for commercial and open source software, Novell delivers increased operating flexibility and choice at a lower total cost of ownership. More information about Novell can be found at

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