Software developer

EQT explored the sale of software developer SUSE after an interest buyout

(Bloomberg) – Private equity firm EQT AB recently explored a sale of SUSE SA after it received a stake in the publicly traded German enterprise software developer, people familiar with the matter said.

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EQT has entered advanced negotiations with technology-focused takeover firm Thoma Bravo after receiving inbound approaches from a number of potential buyers, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Thoma Bravo, who was ahead of other bidders, could not agree on the terms of a transaction and EQT decided to keep its stake in SUSE for now, the sources say.

Shares of SUSE have fallen 29% this year, giving the company a market value of around 4.8 billion euros ($5.1 billion). EQT has a 76% stake in SUSE, which went public in Germany in May 2021, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Cash-rich investment funds have eyed high-growth tech players that have fallen out of favor with equity investors. Thoma Bravo has been seeking deals in Europe, where he was among the suitors evaluating German Software AG in recent months.

The private equity firm and EQT were also considering separate offers for Swiss banking software specialist Temenos AG, Bloomberg News reported. Thoma Bravo has made major purchases in the United States, agreeing in March to acquire US enterprise software company Anaplan Inc. in a deal valued at $10.7 billion.

Representatives for EQT, Thoma Bravo and SUSE declined to comment.

SUSE, founded in 1992, built a version of the Linux operating system that large corporations use to run their servers. It also sells tools to automate cloud software deployment and host SAP SE applications. SUSE has more than 2,000 employees and accounts for more than 60% of Fortune 500 customers, according to its website.

EQT has grown SUSE through acquisitions since the first investment in 2019. The company agreed in 2020 to buy Rancher Labs Inc. to acquire tools used for cloud infrastructure management. In October, SUSE reached an agreement to buy NeuVector Inc., a container security company serving financial services and government customers.

(Updates with the latest share move in the third paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the fifth paragraph to show that Thoma Bravo and EQT were exploring deals for Temenos separately.)

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