Caldera Looks for Piece of Linux IPO Pie

Linux vendor Caldera Systems, Inc. is setting the stage for an IPO this week, with an eye toward duplicating the meteoric opening performances of Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) and VA Linux Systems (Nasdaq: LNUX).

The company, which filed for its highly anticipated initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in January of this year, raised the pricing of its common stock to the range of $8 to $10 (US$) a share, looking to raise $50 million.

Trading under the Nasdaq symbol “CALD,” the offering is currently scheduled to hit The Street on Friday. Despite recent steep declines in other Linux-related stocks, some analysts expect a strong showing.

Robertson Stephens, Bear Stearns, Wit Capital Group and First Security Van Kasper will handle the offering. According to a Caldera Systems company statement, “net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.”

Linux and E-Commerce

Caldera Systems, which shifted its focus to “Linux for eBusiness” late last year, works to enable the development, deployment and management of Linux specialized servers and Internet access devices.

The company moved to become something of an e-commerce enabler in January with the launch of its OpenLinux-based eServer 2.3 at the LinuxWorld Expo in New York City. The product includes IBM products VisualAge for Java and the WebSphere Application Server Standard Edition for Linux, helping users of the product to streamline the process of creating an online presence.

Caldera Systems also bundled Webmin, a Web-based remote administration interface, with the OpenLinux eServer package. Webmin allows users to remotely administer eServer and virtually manage systems and third-party applications.

“As a recognized leader in Linux for eBusiness solutions, Caldera has the experience and market presence to give business partners the ability to capitalize on opportunities in this exciting new space, observed Dick Sullivan, vice president of integrated solutions marketing for IBM’s software group.

IBM is a strategic partner of Caldera Systems and, according to IBM, “both companies are strong advocates of open industry standards, like those on which the eServer is based.”

Caldera Systems announced a strategic agreement on Monday to offer its business users corporate services through SCO (Nasdaq: SCOC). The service offerings are designed to help Caldera Systems clients with the configuration, deployment, installation and planning of OpenLinux-based systems.

About Caldera Systems

Caldera Systems designs, develops and markets Linux-based business solutions, including OpenLinux, NetWare for Linux and Linux technical training, certification and support.

Industry observers have favored the Orem, Utah-based company as a viable candidate to be “the next Red Hat.” Red Hat went public in August 1999, triggering an atmosphere of “Linux hysteria.”

VA Linux stepped up to claim the IPO crown in early December. The company’s offering was recorded as the biggest ever, closing up almost 700 percent at the end of its first day of trading.

Although shares of both Red Hat and VA Linux have dropped significantly in recent weeks — by as much as half at some points — analysts remain encouraged by figures that project a steady increase in Linux adoption over the next few years.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts, the Linux environment — including both client and server — will grow at a compound annual rate of greater than 25 percent through 2003.

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