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Hovsepian in BusinessWeek Online


June 6, 2006 7:52 am





BusinessWeek has a story up today based on an interview post-earnings with Ron Hovsepian. Ron explains his take on the numbers, and offers up perspectives on Red Hat, Oracle, and other issues. Worth a read.

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Categories: Expert Views, General, PR Blog


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  1. By:John Lewing

    Does Mr. Hovsepian have an opinion on why Novell is selling Celerant to Novell insiders (Celerant Mgt) at .3 times sales ?

    Is Jack Messman hiding in his office, while sending Mr. Hovsepian out to do press discussions in order to give the impression that the Chairman and CEO is no longer running the business ?

    Is Mr. Hovsepian the latest shell in Novell shell game called – where did the shareholder wealth go ?

    Does Mr. Hovsepian have the ability to reverse Mr. Messman’s scheme to defraud shareholders of the value in the Celerant asset ?

    Wouldn’t you agree that selling Celerant at .3 times sales is worthy of a fraud investigation ?


  2. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry –

    I want you to know that if Novell will come out with definitive information which justifies .3 times sales as fair value for the Celerant asset, I will cease my inquiries on this subject.

    I only wish to help shareholders ensure that Novell management is not self-dealing here.

    Thank You. John.

  3. By:Javier Lopez


    I don’t think Novell is into fraud. (Ken Lay aside).

    I just think Novell has made bad decisions as of late.

    Here’s another take on Novell:

  4. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry –
    Do you not think that Novell’s sale of Celerant to Novell insiders (Celerant Mgt.) for the extremely low multiple to sales of .3 is worthy of a fraud investigation ?

    It seems shareholders should be very concerned with a company where the Chairman and the CEO is the same person, most especially when the company is selling assets cheap to insiders. Wouldn’t you agree ?

    Is Jack Messman, as Chairman, in a good position to police Jack Messman as CEO ? It seems this lates episode of a lapse in corporate governance at Novell might be worthy of a fraud investigation.

    Could you please provide some “Open PR” on the comparables used to justify the Celerant sale at .3 times sales ?

    Would you please ask Mr. Messman, who has claimed this deal is good for “all constituencies”, to clarify whether he understands that his responsibility as Chairman of the Board is to shareholders and NOT “all constituencies”.

    Was Mr. Messman suggesting that he was placing the interests of other constituencies on the same level or above shareholders ?

    Is Mr. Messman participating in a Novell scheme to enrich Novell insiders (Celerant Mgt.) at the detriment of shareholders, who rightfully own the Celerant asset ?


  5. By:Anonymous

    John – I’m not going to comment on the blog beyond what Novell has already stated on Celerant. Sorry about that.

  6. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry – That doesn’t sound consistent with your blog titled “Open PR”. If Novell is proud of selling Celerant to Novell insiders for such a low multiple, it seems a worthy discussion for an “Open PR” blog.

    Can you assure the public that Novell’s board and Mr. Messman are not engaged in a scheme to defraud Novell shareholders of the value in the Celerant asset ?

    I am happy to discuss this privately if that is more comfortable for you.

    thanks. John.

  7. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry – I’m curious about something. One week ago you said “….I’m happy to try to clarify issues around Celerant….” (refer to Jaffe thread comment 2).

    Now you have a terse reply suggesting you are no longer happy to clarify details of Novell’s decision to transfer Celerant to Novell insiders for .3 times sales.

    Can you explain your about-face ?


    P.S. As I said, I am happy to discuss this privately if that would be a way of understanding Novell’s justifications for this transaction. As I’ve indicated, I believe the price is too low and there may be a scheme to defraud shareholders of value from an asset they own.

  8. By:Anonymous

    Hi John:

    As a shareholder of Novell, you’re always entitled to ask about Novell’s decisions and express your opinions. As you no doubt understand, I’m certainly not going to comment in a blog – as you are pressing me to do – on your assertion that Novell did not do well by shareholders with the Celerant sale. We approached the Celerant issue diligently, retaining outside financial counsel to advise us on this. The sale of Celerant was the result of that process. Clearly, you believe a better outcome would have been possible. That’s essentially speculation, not something I am going to get into on the blog.

    The one parameter we laid out when we launched this blog was that we wouldn’t be commenting on or interpreting financial issues. With this blog, we’ve given you a visibile public forum to express your discontent with Novell, and you’ve done so. If you want to continue the discussion on Celerant in particular, I suggest you follow up with investor relations here at Novell. Their contact info is on the web site. Thanks.

  9. By:John Lewing

    Mr. Lowry – I will discuss this directly with Investor Releations as you suggest. Should Investor Relations provide me with honest, straight-forward information about the options which were considered and the comparables analysis, there will be no issue.

    Should Novell investor relations provide the same kind of high level b.s. you have provided about diligence, etc. I will return to seek a public discussion of Novell’s decision to transfer Celerant to Novell insiders for .3 times sales.


    P.S. Just to be clear, I am not accusing Novell of “not doing well for shareholders”. I am accusing Novell of self-dealing and defrauding shareholders of the value inherent in the Celerant asset. As a PR guy, you know that language matters, so please don’t couch my accusations in your phony PR speak.

  10. John Lewing,

    Geez – and people thought I was fanatical about NetWare! 😉

    Have you queried the press about it? Have you brought your concerns to the FTC?