VA Linux Launches Bid To Become Next Red Hat

In the first major “post-Red Hat” Linux-related public stock move, open-source software developer VA Linux Systems has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Sunnyvale, California-based company, according to the SEC filing, is looking to raise $70 million (US$) through the sale of shares of its common stock. VA has not yet disclosed the number of shares to be sold, or the price range of the stock offering.

Credit Suisse First Boston Corp. will be lead underwriter for the IPO, with Deutsche Banc Alex.Brown, Hambrecht & Quist LLC and Lehman Brothers, Inc. acting as additional underwriters. VA applied to sell its shares on Nasdaq under the symbol “LNUX.” Proceeds from the offering, according to a VA statement, will “be used for general corporate purposes.”

About VA Linux Systems

VA Linux is a provider of Linux-based computer systems, support and Internet-centric services. The company recently announced the launch of a service-based offering that it says will deliver consulting and customization services to business customers.

The newly-formed Professional Services Group will focus upon offering services in several areas: Architecture and planning; deployment and installation; performance analysis; security consulting; and systems integration.

“Our goal is to make our customers successful with Linux by offering ongoing access to VA Linux expertise,” stated John T. Hall, vice president of support and professional services for VA Linux. “Our focus on systems gives us unique knowledge of our customers’ entire Linux environment.” VA is a provider of Linux-based computer systems, support and Internet services.

The Next Red Hat?

The late summer Red Hat IPO — which raised nearly $5 billion on Nasdaq — inspired enthusiastic speculation about which Linux company might follow suit and go public. Although VA’s IPO, according to some analysts, stands the best chance of being the next successful Linux offering, it is not the only game in town.

Andover.Net, the company that runs the notoriously outspoken community, recently announced that it has filed a registration statement for its own IPO. The company plans to sell 4,000,000 shares of its common stock with a proposed price of between $12 and $15 a share.

Startup LinuxOne, Inc., a developer of open-source software products and services, recently filed for its own IPO, looking to raise $24 million through the sale of 3 million shares of its common stock. Members of the Linux community, however, harshly criticized the offering for the company’s lack of experience, resources and income.

Industry observers have been nominating not only VA Linux Systems, but also Orem, Utah-based Caldera Systems, as possible candidates to be “the next Red Hat.”

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