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Novell buys Cambridge Technology

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PROVO — Novell Inc. has completed its $266 million acquisition of Cambridge Technology Partners Inc., a move that was announced in the spring and approved by about 60 percent of Cambridge shareholders Tuesday in Massachusetts.

The purchase is expected to add new services and consulting to augment Novell's Internet services software.

Jack Messman, president and chief executive officer at Cambridge, has been named president and CEO of Novell. Messman has been a Novell director since 1985 and also is a director of Safeguard Scientifics Inc.

Eric Schmidt, formerly Novell's CEO, will continue to offer strategic counsel as chairman of the Novell board of directors. Schmidt has been named chairman of Internet search-engine company Google, succeeding Sergey Brin, who will remain president of that company.

Cambridge, an e-commerce consulting and systems integration services company, has 3,500 employees worldwide.

The acquisition is expected to help Novell boost the sales of its Web-based deployments of business processes; boost the introduction of Novell technology to clients, information technology services partners and other independent software vendors; and increase the percentage of revenue from services.

"Cambridge quickly takes Novell to full support of e-business solutions," Messman said. "This is a central element in our strategy to provide a foundation for e-business with Novell Net services software and eDirectory. Achieving this goal carries the prospect of improved business performance, and the valued return that Novell stockholders expect and deserve."

Cambridge becomes a Novell subsidiary while retaining its name, market presence and independence.

"To date, companies have only begun to leverage the full power of the Net to automate their business processes and drive new revenue opportunities," Messman said. "The new Novell is ideally positioned to help organizations make this transition."

In documents filed in May with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Novell said its top officials had considered selling the entire company or parts of it before eventually agreeing to merge with Cambridge.

Novell said in the document that during late 2000 and early 2001, senior management and the board of directors "considered various strategic alternatives to increase stockholder value, including a sale of Novell in whole or in part and a spin-off or joint venture involving Novell subsidiaries."

In addition to Messman taking over Novell, Ron Foster, vice president of finance and corporate controller at Novell, replaces Dennis Raney to become senior vice president and chief financial officer. Raney will leave Novell after a transition period.

Also, Cambridge has designated two of its board members, James D. Robinson III and John W. Poduska Sr., to take open seats on the Novell board. Robinson is founder and general partner at RRE Ventures and a former chairman and CEO of the American Express Co. Poduska is chairman of Advanced Visual Systems Inc. and was chairman and CEO and president of Apollo Computer Inc.

Novell's stock closed at $4.87 Tuesday, down 11 cents during the day. In the past year, it has ranged from $3.43 to $12.75.

E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com