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Novell (NASDAQ:NOVL) late yesterday announced plans to buy back $100 million of common stock, or about 4.3% of its current market cap.

Nice, but not enough, is the general Street reaction.

Katherine Egbert, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., notes that the buyback is “unlikely to move the EPS needle, even if executed quickly and entirely.” She points out that the company has about $1.8 billion in cash on its balance sheet, or about 78% of Novell’s current market valuation of about $2.3 billion. (Net cash is around $1 billion.)

Novell reports fiscal second quarter results on May 29. UBS analyst Abhey Lamba this morning asserts that there is “upside potential” to the Street consensus of $233 million in revenue and EPS of 5 cents a share, “as checks show increasing momentum in the partner channel and foreign exchange is likely to benefit the company by 3-4 percentage points in the quarter.” Lamba also says there could be margin upside as “the company’s cost control efforts are on track.”

Source: Novell Sets $100M Buyback, But The Street Wants More