MandrakeSoft goes public

For French Eyes Only

Undeterred by dismal prospects for public tech stocks, Linux distributor MandrakeSoft is to go public on the unregulated French Marche Libre exchange.

Only French nationals living in France are eligible to take up the offer, and stern warnings forbid "US persons" - or for that matter Canadian, Japanese or Australian institutional investors - to view the online prospectus. Don't worry, you're not missing much.

Jacques Le Marois MandrakeSoft's CEO says new capital will allow the company to expand its direct and indirect channels, (or 'Les Manches' as we like to say here). The company claims to have 1.7 million users and has set the share price at 6.2 Euros valuing the company at 21.1 Euros ($18.3m dollars).

The Mandrake prospectus makes comparisons to Red Hat and Caldera, and somewhat more bizzarely Citrix and Symbian.

MandrakeSoft's European rival SuSE has steadfastly remined private, but was obliged to make some of the biggest staff cuts last year by any Linux distributor. ®

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