Novell Sells Celerant, Focuses on Linux

Novell finally gets out of the management consulting business and makes it clear that Linux is the center of its business.

Novell announced on May 24th that it has sold its shares in Celerant Consulting, its management consulting branch, to Caledonia Investments, a UK-quoted investment trust, for $77 million.

Celerant was part of Cambridge Technology Partners, which Novell Inc. acquired in 2001.

This acquisition never worked well for Novell. As Novell CEO Jack Messman said in 2002, "Hindsight is always 20/20, but who could have guessed wed see such a collapse in the services business?"

Investors like Blum Capital Partners LP had long wanted Novell to sell off Celerant and make other changes. Other stockholder-driven changes have yet to materialize, however.

For example, Novell started to plan a share repurchase programn of up to $200 million of Novell common stock in September. At the time, Jack Messman, Novells chairman and CEO said, "Our stock buyback is just one of the elements of a plan aimed at enhancing shareholder value and securing Novells future as an important provider of solutions to the IT market." However, Novell hasnt acted on that plan yet, because its been in a blackout period.

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