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Novell Sale May Fall Through: Reuters

Aside from SUSE Linux, Novell is what Reuters’ sources aptly called a “dying cow.”

It’s unlikely that anybody in the industry needs three anonymous Reuters sources to tell them that NetWare has been the donkey on the bridge holding up the sale of Novell for lo the six months the company’s been in play.

Everybody has known for years and years that that thing has been an albatross around Novell’s neck. Heck, if Novell had been able to solve its NetWare problem it wouldn’t have bought SUSE Linux.

Anyway, Reuters says that Novell can’t get whatever ridiculous price it’s demanding for the little bloodsucker and that if it can’t unload the thing at its valuation it may abort the sale of SUSE and stay independent, or IPO a division, or something. It doesn’t want to sell off SUSE to VMware or CA or whoever else has come a calling and be left there with NetWare in its hand.

Reuters identified Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity as having tired of the “onerous” and “difficult” process of trying to buy Novell’s legacy assets and quitting the field. Its bid some time back didn’t meet management expectations.

Other candidates to buy the assets were identified as Platinum’s buyout partner Gores Group and Attachmate, fingered last week by the Wall Street Journal as a possibility, as well as Vector Capital, Vista Equity Partners and Symphony Technology Group.

SUSE could reportedly fetch a rich multiple but evidently not enough to cover the low value placed on the rest of the company, which one of Reuters’ sources aptly called a “dying cow.”

Another source said a combined offer might reach $6.25 a share, 50 cents better that the rejected Elliott Associates bid of $5.75 that set the Novell pinball in motion.

If a sale falls through, one can easily imagine Novell sinking back to its pre-Elliott sub-five dollar price followed by a hostile tender for, oh, $5.50.

As the Reuters story got read Wednesday night, Novell’s stock price fell 7% after-hours from its $6.51 close to $6.09.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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