The hits just keep coming for enterprise software vendor Novell
Novell's $199 million in third-quarter revenue is a far cry from the $205 million that formed the low end of management's guidance for the period. The company did manage to keep earnings within a rounding error of last year's take, at $0.04 per share, but demand for Novell's software is falling off the white cliffs of Dover.
Management knows exactly why, too. This is not the economy's fault, nor a weak product lineup. Customers are simply wary of signing any significant contracts with Novell until they know that the company will be around to support them. Novell rejected a $5.75-per-share private equity bid from early March as too low, but it kept the door open for buyout discussions. Nothing has happened since then.
When pressed on the issue during last night's earnings call, Novell treasurer Rob Kain waved it away: "As soon as the Board has reached a conclusion, we will make a public statement on it." This is the second quarterly report since the failed buyout offer, and we're all still in the dark.
To Novell's credit, investors seem to have plenty of patience for the process. Share prices have wavered around the original buyout price, give or take about 10%. That's a much higher level than where the stock was trading before this drama started. Still, I'd like to remind CEO Ron Hovsepian and his team that not every play for a higher bid works out as planned.
Sure, storage specialist 3PAR
Will we hear anything about the deal talks before Novell's customer hesitance turns into a revenue hemorrhage? Only time will tell. In the meantime, use the comments below to discuss whether shareholders' patience will be rewarded or punished for long-suffering loyalty.
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