Novell sells WordPerfect software

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    By PAUL WALKE

    Corel Corp. of Ottawa announced yesterday its agreement with Novell, Inc. of Orem, to acquire the WordPerfect family of software programs and related technologies.

    Corel acquired PerfectOffice application suite, WordPerfect word processing applications, QuattroPro spreadsheet and related software from Novell in exchange for 9.95 million shares of Corel common stock and $10.75 million in cash.

    Arland Burch, director of Sales for Corel, said, “We believe WordPerfect and PerfectOffice will become the flagship product of Corel.” He said its current product, CorelDRAW, will fit in well with its marketing of the newly acquired software.

    Novell announced its planned sale of the WordPerfect software in October. “We consciously sought a partner that would stay in Utah,” said Jeffrey Waxman, executive vice president for Novell. “We didn’t just give it to the highest bidder.”

    Novell wanted the new buyer to be able to handle WordPerfect’s 20 million customers, to keep developing and upgrading the product and to support current employees.

    Corel will lease facilities from Novell in Orem and hire certain Novell employees engaged in the continued development and support of application products. They plan to release WordPerfect 7 and PerfectOffice 7 this spring.

    According to David Bradford, chief legal counsel for Novell, there are 1,300 WordPerfect employees, not all of which are in Utah. Corel plans to use 650 to 700 of those employees and will determine if more are needed later. The remaining will have opportunities to interview for other jobs at Novell.

    “We do not expect any layoffs in the Utah area,” Waxman said.

    Novell merged with WordPerfect in June 1994. Glen Mella, general manager of Business Applications, said the news of the acquisition was received well by current employees. “Novell is focusing on network software,” he said.

    Financial losses and product quality were not the reasons for the sale, Waxman said. “The distribution channels at Novell weren’t able to support the retailing of the product,” he said. “This is the last piece in Novell’s overall strategy.”

    Robert J. Frankenberg, CEO of Novell, said, “Corel’s success in developing and marketing best-of-breed personal computer application software products makes them an ideal partner to advance these products in the future.”

    “This is a partnership more than an asset sale,” Waxman said.

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