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Mandrakesoft shareholders have given the company the green light for a stock sale that will raise up to $7.3m. A vote on Monday approved the sale of up to a million shares at €6, or $7.31, per share.

The stock is being sold as a private investment in public equity, and investors will largely be existing shareholder, the company said. The extra funds will allow it to transfer to a regulated market, Euronext Nouveau Marché, making it easier for stock to be traded and paves the way for Mandrakesoft to pursue an acquisition strategy.

Chairman Jacques Le Marois said that Mandrakesoft is already in acquisition discussions with several companies valued between $1.2m and $3.6m each, CNET reports. Shareholders have already backed the company in its bid to acquire Edge IT, a small French service and support company.

The company said the money is needed to "clean up its balance sheet" following its time in 'redressement judiciaire' (similar to chapter 11 bankruptcy protection), in 2003. The company emerged from its confinement in March this year, boosted by strong Linux sales. But Le Marois says it must grow if it is to compete with other, higher profile, Linux vendors.

When the company floated in 2001, its shares were listed on the unregulated Euronext Marché Libre exchange, and on the US OTC market. Le Marois said that the sell-off and the move to Euronext Nouveau Marché, should be completed by the end of 2004. ®

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