According to insider sources, SUSE’s largest shareholder turned down an acquisition bid from Thoma Bravo.
SUSE was acquired by private equity firm EQT in 2018. Three years later, the company went public. EQT remained the largest stakeholder with a share of over 75 percent. Insider sources told Bloomberg that EQT recently negotiated the sale of SUSE to Thoma Bravo, a private equity firm. The organizations failed to reach an agreement. SUSE will remain in the hands of EQT for now. Thoma Bravo’s portfolio is full of established technology companies, including Proofpoint, Sophos and Anaplan.
SUSE, Thoma Bravo and growing pains
SUSE’s offering has two sections: managed Linux and managed Kubernetes, in the cloud and at the edge. The Kubernetes offering was made possible by the 2020-acquisition of Rancher Labs, developer of a Kubernetes management platform. SUSE launched SUSE Rancher, a full-stack solution for containerising, deploying and managing apps. The next step proved to be the 2021-acquisition of Harvester, which provides a hyper-converged infrastructure solution for virtual machines and containers.
Most organizations recognize that containers and Kubernetes are the future. A portfolio like SUSE’s creates the expectation of a fast-growing company. The financial results, however, leave much to be desired. In the past six months, the share price plummeted by almost 30 percent. Such figures don’t necessarily indicate flaws in the technological strategy of an organization. In SUSE’s case, its offering is answering a demand that’s just barely getting off the ground.
Most IT organizations want to containerise, but aren’t taking the step just yet. Regardless of their reasoning, the infrastructure of an average corporation will look drastically different in five years’ time. Suppliers of Kubernetes and hyperconverged infrastructures will undoubtedly play a major role. That explains Thoma Bravo’s interest in SUSE. The private equity firm has an eye for promising organisations with a moderate financial course. SUSE fits the bill, but as mentioned earlier, major shareholder EQT isn’t interested at this time.