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Who’s Gonna Buy Novell?

Novell set this week as the deadline for acquisition offers, according to the Wall Street Journal followed by the New York Times

Novell set this week as the deadline for acquisition offers, according to the Wall Street Journal followed by the New York Times.

Elliott Associates LLP spokesman Scott Tagliarino claims Elliott, whose $5.75-a-share offer put Novell in play a couple of months ago, knows nothing about Novell's schedule. "It's running its own show," he said. Elliott's offer is still on the table.

Novell refused the hedge fund's unsolicited bid as too low but since the offer inflated Novell's sunken stock price the company knew it was trapped and went looking for a sweeter deal.

The Journal reports being told by "people familiar with the matter" that 20 companies have expressed interest of some kind in Novell, but that any serious offers are all expected to come from private equity firms and top Elliott's $2 billion bid. How much more Novell could possibly be worth is the question.

Tagliarino declined to say whether Elliott, which already owns 8.5% of Novell, is willing to raise its offer.

The Journal figures it will take Novell a while to sort through the preliminary offers and then progress to a final round.

No high-tech companies are expected to bid for all of Novell though they may be interested in one of Novell's four operating units. The paper observes that a private equity firm could break Novell into pieces and either sell them off separately or run them as standalone businesses. Elliott has denied it would break Novell up.

Novell has a market cap of $2 billion and a billion bucks in the bank. The Journal says a private buyer could get the joint for $500 million in cash and take on debt for the rest.

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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