When Novell announces quarterly results on May 27, The VAR Guy wonders: Will Novell provide a status report on the potential sale of the company? Here's an update for channel partners, and some educated guesses from The VAR Guy.

First, the facts: Novell has bet the company on a strategy called Intelligent Workload Management. It's the first Novell strategy in quite some time that encompasses all of Novell's various products and services, The VAR Guy believes.

Still, some critics continue to wonder if Novell's various offerings -- SUSE Linux, identity and security management, systems management, groupware, etc. -- truly fit snugly under one company roof.

Novell in March 2010 rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from Elliot Associates, a private equity investor. More recently, Novell apparently has been gathering additional takeover bids, according to reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Those initial bids were due to Novell last week, the newspapers reported.

No Guarantees

The big question: Will Novell offer an update on the company sale process during its quarterly earnings call on May 27? Hmmm... The VAR Guy has worked for companies that solicited takeover offers. And generally speaking, the process involves multiple rounds of bidding -- from initial offer considerations to a second round of qualified bids to deep discovery involving the final bidders.

Translation: This process could stretch on for several months if a clear strategic definitive buyer doesn't emerge quickly. Also, Novell in March 2010 indicated that listening to offers doesn't necessarily guarantee the company will be sold.

Channel Focus

For solutions providers and channel partners, Novell's quarterly earnings will provide some important clues about the company's overall health. The VAR Guy hopes Novell provides a progress report on the Intelligent Workload Management strategy -- is it catching on with partners or customers, or is it still a work in progress?

No doubt, Novell continues to build key channel relationships -- including a cloud security effort with Verizon; a massive groupware relationship with Novacoast; and an identity and security relationship with Deloitte & Touche.

The big question: Will those partners -- and other solutions providers -- take a broader look at Novell's entire product portfolio, as part of the IWM push? And of course, the biggest question of all: Is somebody ready to step in and acquire Novell?

The VAR Guy will be back with potential updates on May 27.

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