IBM announced plans to acquire Red Hat, a major distributor of open-source software and technology, in a deal that is valued at nearly $34 billion. According to a joint statement, IBM will pay cash to purchase all shares in Red Hat for $190 each. Shares in Red Hat closed on Friday before the deal was announced at $116.88.
Enterprise software maker is set to become a unit of IBM’s Hybrid Cloud division, with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst joining IBM’s senior management team and reporting to CEO Ginni Rometty. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Lazard advised IBM on the Red Hat deal, while Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim advised Red Hat. This acquisition is IBM’s largest deal yet and the third-largest in the history of U.S. tech.
Red Hat emerged 25 years ago as a distributor of a particular flavor of Linux, an open-source operating system that is commonly used in server computers that power company data centers. Today, its known for distributing and supporting Red Hat Enterprise Linux, as well as other technologies commonly used in data centers. The company went public during the peak of the dot-com boom in 1999, and earned $259 million on revenue of $2.92 billion in its last fiscal year, in which its revenue grew 21 percent between 2017 and 2018 fiscal years.
Rometty made clear to CNBC that the deal is not to be interpreted as any plan for her to transition from her position as CEO at IBM. “I’m still young and I’m not going anywhere,” she stated.
According to people familiar with the matter, Red Hat talked for years about potentially selling itself to other companies, however, nothing was as serious as the negotiations with IBM. “We were not looking to do something,” Whitehurst said.