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03.20.10

Novell Staff Shrank by ~10% and Hovsepian Allegedly Plays Hard to Get With Elliott Associates

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Novell, Ron Hovsepian at 2:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stag

Summary: It’s rutting season for Novell’s Ron Hovsepian and Elliott Associates’ Singer as the company keeps diminishing but wants to be valued more generously

Based on this new post from Novell’s CMO (John Dragoon), Novell has just 3,600 employees. That’s about 300 employees less than last year and it exceeds the cuts which Novell announced last year, so the numbers surprise us somewhat. It wasn’t announced or disclosed based on what we could find (and we look very carefully at everything about Novell). Novell had laid off many developers of Linux. Luc continues to make good contributions to kernel space. It’s just a shame that Novell focuses more on Mono and Moonlight and less on Linux, so it let Luc go (despite his great value).

“Novell had laid off many developers of Linux.”Novell is a confused and schizophrenic company. If Novell keeps shrinking at this pace, its value in the eyes on the hedge fund is likely to decline, not increase. At the moment, Novell plays hard to get (as expected by Andy Updegrove for example) in order to change the bid/price. We cannot confirm if this is authentic (no verification yet), but the timing makes sense; it comes just ahead of BrainShare in order to instill confidence in the minds of attendees.

Someone called “FlyingGuy” writes “In an e-mail sent to partners and VARS ( of which I am one ), CEO Ron Hovsepian sent the the following:”

Dear Valued Partner,

As you may know, on March 2nd, Elliott Associates, L.P. announced an unsolicited, conditional proposal to acquire Novell. Today we issued a press release announcing that our Board of Directors has concluded, after careful consideration, including a review of the proposal with its independent financial and legal advisors, that Elliott’s proposal is inadequate and that it undervalues the Company’s franchise and growth prospects.

Additionally, we announced that our Board has authorized a thorough review of various alternatives to enhance stockholder value.

Our relationship with you is extremely important to all of us at Novell, and I want to assure you that you can remain confident that we are committed to serving you as we always have. I also want to reaffirm to you that it remains business as usual at Novell, and we do not intend for there to be any changes in our relationship with you. Please do not hesitate to contact me or other members of our team at any time; we always strive to be available to provide you the best solutions for your needs.

On behalf of the Board and management team, I thank you for your ongoing commitment to Novell.

Sincerely,

Ron Hovsepian
President and CEO

If true and authentic, then it’s not the end of the story, it’s just negotiation tactics. Novell’s knees could eventually buckle just like Yahoo’s. Singer’s vulture fund says that it won't sell Novell in pieces and Hovsepian’s issue is one of price. The wording indicates this. Up the ante?

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2 Comments

  1. JohnD said,

    March 20, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Gravatar

    The email is authentic. I just got the same email a little while ago. I doubt the goal is to get the offering price raised. Chances are they have more things on the horizon then they’ve made known.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks, JohnD.

    Here is the Updegrove article:

    http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standardsblog/article.php?story=20100304051547830

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