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Novell investors approve takeover by Attachmate

Shareholders of Novell have voted in favor of Attachmate's $2.2 billion offer to acquire the company.

Novell will soon cease to exist as its own company.

Shareholders of the former network-software giant voted in favor of Attachment's intent to acquire the company to the tune of $2.2 billion.

At a special investor meeting held yesterday, almost 99 percent of the shares voting approved the takeover, representing a majority of about 66 percent of all of Novell's outstanding stock. Once the merger is completed, Novell shareholders will be able to receive $6.10 in cash for each share of Novell common stock owned.

But the deal is not quite done. Novell said the merger is still subject to regulatory approval of its $450 million sale of certain patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings, a group of tech companies led by Microsoft. That approval is being held up as the sale is reviewed by both Germany and the U.S. Department of Justice, which had previously asked for further details. Novell said it's currently gathering the necesssary information and is cooperating fully with the Justice Department over the review.

Under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust act, the request by the Justice Department extends the waiting period to complete the deal until 30 days after all parties have complied with the requests. Though Novell can't yet give a specific date for completing the merger, it said it expects the closing will occur following the waiting period and the resolution of other conditions.

Novell was a major player in the network arena back in the '90s, when a healthy number of customers ran Novell networks using the company's NetWare operating system. But rising competition from Microsoft in the server and network market proved too strong. In an effort to stay alive, Novell tried branching out. The company bought the WordPerfect Office Suite late in the decade but ran headfirst into Microsoft's increasingly dominant Office suite. And its purchase of SuSE Linux in 2003 ultimately failed to gain ground against rival Red Hat in the business realm.

As part of Attachmate, Novell's product lines will be divided into two groups, one for SuSE and another for its other server products.