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Novell Swings To 1Q Loss On Charges; Revenue, Margins Slide

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Novell Inc. (NOVL) swung to a fiscal first-quarter loss as the software company recorded expenses for a review of strategic alternatives and for litigation, while revenue and gross margins slid. In November, an investor group led by a trio of private-equity firms reached a deal to acquire Novell for about $2.2 billion, ending the eight-month takeover battle for the company. Novell shareholders last month approved the deal, although the acquisition awaits a Department of Justice request for more information regarding a sale of some patents. Despite its declining revenue, the company was considered attractive because of its high cash levels and exposure to the Linux operating system. For the quarter ended Jan. 31, Novell reported a loss of $17.9 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with a prior-year profit of $20.2 million, or 6 cents a share. Excluding the review expenses and other impacts, earnings were flat at 7 cents. Revenue slid 5.8% to $190.7 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 7 cents on revenue of $199 million. Gross margin narrowed to 78.2% from 78.4%. Maintenance and subscriptions revenue, which makes up the bulk of the company's total, declined 5.4%. Revenue from software licenses decreased 3.8%, while services dropped 10%. Shares closed up 2 cents to $5.82 and were inactive in after-hours trading. -By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; [email protected]

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