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Up to 20 bidders interested in Novell

As many as 20 bidders are interested in buying software company Novell Inc, which has put itself up for sale and is this week accepting bids, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Most or all of the companies expected to make serious bids are private equity firms, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. The report said it was unlikely that a tech company would bid for all of Novell, but private equity firms could break up the company.

A Novell spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In March, Novell rejected a $2 billion takeover offer from investment fund and shareholder Elliott Associates, calling its offer of $5.75 a share inadequate.

Novell shares closed up 3.6% on Wednesday at $6.03.

Initial offers for Novell are expected to top the Elliott bid, the Journal reported, adding that a private buyer could acquire Novell for about $500 million in cash and take on debt to cover the rest of the cost. (Reuters)