06.01.07

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Between the Lines Talks About Splitting Novell

Posted in Finance, Identity Management, Novell at 11:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This one particular suggestion comes as a total surprise and whether it makes any sense or not, well… it is you who ought to be the judge.

I’m left to conclude that the strategy, not the products, is the problem. Frankly, I see little synergy between the identity products and the rest of Novell. As a consequence, they’re probably holding each other back as executives struggle to manage and resource two very different businesses. Novell’s shareholders would be better off with two Novells: one focusing on their identity business and one concentrating on Linux.

Novell already considers buybacks, according to Ron Hovsepian. Structural remedies can be another route to take, even though it seems far fetched. While the company operates at a loss, some action — any action — needs to be taken.

A day after Jim Yin rated NOVL “strong sell”, another analyst weighs in.

Novell “underperform”

Analyst J Maynard of Credit Suisse reiterates his “underperform” rating on Novell Inc. The target price is set to $6.

In a research note published yesterday, the analyst mentions that the company’s 2Q results did not indicate any visible signs of substantial progress. The forthcoming release of GPLv3 represents a risk to Novell’s most significant business, the analyst says. In the absence of sustainable cash flows, the probability of the company being acquired by a private equity investor is quite low, Credit Suisse believes.

No matter how you look at this, attempts to turn a loss into a perceived win will not work for Novell here. Novell has tried to play that card. There is another item which is by no means encouraging:

Novell Q2 2007 Results: Still a long way to go

Novell yesterday announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2007. Net revenue went up 2.6% year on year to $239 million with software licensing increasing faster (4.1% to 17.4% of revenue) than maintenance (up 2.2% of revenue to 52% of revenue) and service revenue (down a whopping 37% to 31%).

What will it be next? A split seems unlikely, but it’s the first time the idea gets mentioned. Only a couple of weeks after an analyst mentioned buybacks as an option, Novell did as well. Everything seems like a possibility, provided arguments like BTL’s are used for backing.

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