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Turbolinux looks to buy LinuxCare

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It's looking increasingly likely that Turbolinux will buy troubled services company LinuxCare.

Earlier today internal emails suggesting the deal leaking out onto the Net, but neither company confirmed their authenticity.

One was allegedly sent by Turbolinux CEO Paul Thomas, who wrote: "Our discussions with LinuxCare... have become more serious, and have resulted in the signing of a... letter of intent. A LOI merely states that both companies will make best efforts to reach a definitive agreement.

"The boards and management teams of both Turbolinux and LinuxCare believe we have very complimentary strengths, that together make us much stronger as combined companies."

LinuxCare has since admitted that it is in talks with Turbolinux. The negotiations are at an early stage, and as yet no agreement has been reached on how - or indeed if - the two companies will combine their operations, according to a LinuxCare spokeswoman cited by CNet.

Her comments mirror the contents of Thomas' email. He wrote: "We are still early in the discussions, and don't yet have a final agreement... I will do my best to answer your questions early next week when we have a company meeting."

If the two companies do come together, the merger would bring to Turbolinux a portfolio of services and tech support products. Turbolinux hasn't done badly for itself, with its for emphasis on providing high-end corporate-oriented software products on top of its version of the open source OS. It has carved a niche for itself by specialising in versions of Linux for the Japanese and Far Eastern markets.

LinuxCare has had less success, and was forced to postpone and then knock on the head its proposed IPO around the middle of last year. That followed the sudden departure of CEO and founder Fernand Sarrat. At the time LinuxCare cancelled its IPO, its VC backer, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said it was actively seeking a buyer for the company. At the time Red Hat and VA Linux were the most widely tipped candidates for the acquisition. Either they weren't, or neither company felt LinuxCare was worth it. ®

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