Francisco, Golden Gate and Thoma Bravo Ink $2.2 Bln Deal for Novell: UPDATED

We finally have some news on Novell. Today, PE-backed Attachmate Corp. agreed to buy Novell for $6.10 a share, or $2.2 billion.

Novell also inked a deal to sell certain intellectual property assets to CPTN Holdings, which is a consortium of tech companies organized by Microsoft, for $450 million. The $6.10 a share offer represents a 9% premium to Novell’s closing share price on Friday.

Three PE firms—Francisco Partners, Golden Gate and Thoma Bravo—own Attachmate, the statement said. Novell expects the deal to close in first quarter 2011.

A sale has been a long time coming. Novell, a business software provider, has been up for sale since March. At that time, the firm rejected a $5.75 a share, or $2 billion, offer from Elliot Associates. Novell then tapped J.P. Morgan Chase to explore alternatives. By May as many as 20 bidders were reportedly vying for Novell.

In September, the New York Post said that a strategic partner would probably buy the Novell piece that develops and delivers Linux SUSE Systems while a PE firm was in line to buy the rest. I first reported Thoma Bravo’s plans to buy Novell’s non-Linux business that month.

UPDATE: Attachmate is buying all of Novell including the Linux business, sources tell me. The PE firms had been expected to buy only the non-Linux based businesses. CPTN Holdings, the consortium of companies led by Microsoft, is mainly buying patents from Novell. The $450 million that CPTN is paying is included in the $2.2 billion purchase price.

Ron Eliasek, John LaVoie, David Wirdnam and Dave Ramazetti of RBC Capital Markets provided financial advice to Attachmate. Credit Suisse also advised Attachmate.