Novell’s Mystery PE Bidder is Thoma Bravo

It’s late in the day and I just learned that Novell’s mystery PE bidder is none other than Thoma Bravo.

Novell, a business software developer, 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. On Tuesday, the NY Post said Novell will sell in two parts. The publication reported that a strategic partner will buy the Novell piece that develops and delivers Linux SUSE Systems while a PE firm was in line to buy the rest. The story didn’t provide names of the bidders, and it said that the huge software developer is three to four weeks away from signing the deal.

It’s unclear who the strategic player is or how much Thoma Bravo is bidding.

However, an analyst told my Reuters colleagues that the sale could ultimately fetch about $7.50 a share, or $2.6 billion.

Thoma Bravo, a San Francisco and Chicago buyout shop, invests in mid-market technology and services companies. The firm has been active lately, having recently bought SonicWall, a provider of IT security and data backup and recovery solutions for $717 million. The firm also closed a $242 million buy of Double-Take Software in July and it bought LANDesk Software from Emerson last month for an undisclosed amount.

Officials for Thoma Bravo declined comment. Novell couldn’t be reached for comment.