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16 September 2010, 16:55

SCO Group auctions UNIX division

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The SCO Group has stated in an ad hoc press release that it will be selling its UNIX division to the highest bidder. SCO's UNIX unit handles sales and the development of UnixWare and OpenServer, alongside support for these products. Interested parties have until October 5 to submit a bid.

SCO describes the spin off of its UNIX division as an attempt to keep customer trust in the development of UNIX technologies. At the same time, the revenue is to ensure the survival of the SCO Group, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in accordance with US law. As chief financial officer Ken Nielsen explains in the press release, "This asset sale is an important step forward in ensuring business continuity for our customers around the world".

The sale of the UNIX division is an attempt to gain funding for the SCO Group. It's not the first time a division has been spun off. Back in April, SCO’s then-CEO Darl McBride purchased the firm's mobile division for $100,000 US. McBride originally only wanted to pay $35,000, but a second bidder, whose identity remains anonymous even today, drove the price up. If a buyer is found through the current UNIX auction, the SCO Group would only be facing charges brought forward by IBM and Red Hat concerning alleged copyright violations in Linux, and it could hope that the recent objection it filed against the final ruling about copyright in UNIX will be successful in its dispute with Novell.

In addition to the spin off of the mobile division, the SCO Group has mainly been living off of a $2 million investment made by a group behind the majority shareholder Ralph Yarro. Reports vary as to the value of the UNIX division. In 2007, the SCO Group entered into negotiations with investor York Capital Managament, which was offering $10 million for the UNIX division and $6 million for the mobile division. But as the quarterly reports show, the UNIX division has been consistently shrinking since 2007. US market watchers estimate that $2 to $4 million would now be a good deal. The auction of the UNIX division occurs at the same time as the firm's embittered court opponent Novell is up for sale.

(Detlef Borchers)

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(Detlef Borchers / trk)

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