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EQT portfolio company SUSE acquires Rancher Labs

EQT portfolio company SUSE, an open source infrastructure software provider, has acquired Silicon Valley-based Rancher Labs, a Kubernetes container management platform. Together, the companies will be ideally positioned to support global enterprises in accelerating their transition from traditional on-prem IT infrastructures to hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Headquartered in Nuremberg, Germany, SUSE is a pioneer and recognised leader for enterprise grade open source software with more than 25 years of engineering excellence. Today, more than 13,000 blue-chip enterprise customers around the world use SUSE’s software to run mission critical applications anywhere – on premise, hybrid and multi-cloud across all industry verticals. The company’s 1,600 employees work from a broad network of hubs in Europe, the US, South America and Asia. 

Since the acquisition by EQT in March 2019, SUSE has successfully executed on an organic growth strategy driven both by its core Linux-based operating system offering and the expansion into new open source technologies to support emerging trends such as the transition to the Cloud, Containers, Edge Computing, AI and Machine Learning. 

SUSE’s partnership with Rancher marks the first step in SUSE’s inorganic growth strategy, a key strategic pillar for SUSE and a key component of EQT’s investment thesis. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Rancher is a specialist in the Kubernetes-based container management space, an emerging technology that enables enterprises to run applications effortlessly at scale in any IT infrastructure. Rancher’s flagship product has more than 37,000 active users and greater than 100 million downloads. Global IT research firm Gartner expects that 75 percent of all large enterprises in mature economies will use container management to support the growing adoption of cloud-native infrastructures by 2024, increasing from 35 per cent today.

Melissa Di Donato, CEO at SUSE, says: “The acquisition of Rancher is an important step on SUSE’s growth journey, and it furthers our vision to enable better futures and measurable value for our customers and partners. This acquisition enhances our ability to offer a more comprehensive portfolio, greater customer choice and no vendor lock-in. With the backing from EQT, SUSE and Rancher now set course toward disrupting the market and helping customers accelerate their digital transformation.”

Johannes Reichel, responsible Partner for SUSE at EQT, adds: ”Rancher Labs is a truly thematic add-on that is supported by an increasing share of enterprises operating in multi-cloud environments. Accelerating SUSE’s emerging technology footprint through acquisitions has been a core pillar of EQT’s investment thesis and we are excited that the SUSE and Rancher teams have been able to align their visions here to further cement SUSE’s position as a global leader in open source innovation.”

SUSE’s organic and inorganic growth measures are supported by a strong performance despite Covid-19 circumstances – most recently SUSE reported an excellent second quarter of its fiscal year 2020 (ending October), which saw its bookings increase 30 per cent year over year and global cloud revenue skyrocket 70 per cent year over year.

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