22 August 2023

EQT takes SUSE private

PE firm EQT, which owns approximately 79% of SUSE, intends to acquire the remaining stake at a price of €16 per share, which is a 67% premium to the recent closing price and values the company at €2.7 billion. It is worth noting that this offer is significantly lower than the company's May 2021 initial public offering (IPO) price of €30 per share.

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SUSE, currently based in Luxembourg, offers enterprise software and open-source solutions that make it easier to run applications on cloud servers and mainframes. Founded in 1992, it employs more than 2,400 people worldwide. SUSE initially entered the market with high expectations for the success of its open-source Linux operating system among enterprise software developers, but ran into difficulties due to strong competition and warned of lower profits this May.

In 2018, Swedish PE firm EQT acquired SUSE from UK-based Micro Focus in a deal worth $2.5 billion. It undertook an initial public offering (IPO) in 2021 with a valuation around €5 billion, equivalent to €30 per share. Interestingly, EQT divested part of its stake for €1.1 billion in 2021; it now intends to buy back that stake for just under €600 million. EQT will fund the shareholder buyout through an interim dividend to be issued by SUSE.

Since its initial investment, EQT has expanded SUSE's footprint through strategic acquisitions. In 2020, it entered into an agreement to acquire Rancher Labs, giving it valuable cloud infrastructure management tools, and in 2021, it negotiated the acquisition of NeuVector, which focuses on financial services and government clients.