July 28, 2001

Open Source stock report: MandrakeSoft commits IPO, HP slashes staff

Author: JT Smith

- By Dan Berkes -
Nasdaq stood still and the Dow dropped a bit this Friday as investors tried to improve their outlook on long-term financial gains. MandrakeSoft clarified its Euronext IPO, HP slashed its staff and earnings forecast, and we're not quite sure what TiVo is doing.
Nasdaq ended the week at 2,029.07, up by 6 points from Thursday but essentially going nowhere from last Friday's close of 2,029.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down almost 39 points from Thursday to 10,416.67, off 160 points from its July 20 closing at 10,576.65.

Investors are doing their best to remain optimistic about future corporate returns, but it's not an easy task. Earlier, the Street was rocked by big selloffs when the herd was spooked by news of continued poor results. Leading the way in the tech sector, as you'll read further on in this week's report, was Hewlett-Packard's news of fresh job cuts and lowered profit estimates for the current quarter. Eventually, the markets rebounded, with analysts predicting an even milder upturn next week.

MandrakeSoft goes IPO
MandrakeSoft has begun an initial public offering, expecting to raise a modest $3.7 million for its efforts. This is a significant business event for the Linux community; in the past few months several high-profile Open Source players including Lineo, LynuxWorks, Linuxcare, and Turbolinux have canceled their plans to go public. MandrakeSoft will trade on the unregulated Euronext Marche Libre. Belgian bank KBC Securities is underwriting the offering.

So, how do you go about getting in on this IPO? That's something you'll have to figure out on your own, or maybe with the help of a few Mandrake fans. On Thursday, the company sent out an email message asking readers for help in assembling a HOWTO document that will describe how to purchase shares of MandrakeSoft from various countries.

Caldera and an order of fries, please
Rumor has it that Caldera just got one super-size order from McDonalds. According to sources, the company received an order for 4,000 OpenUnix licenses from the U.S. hamburger titan. The company plans to use its new software to crunch financial information across its global chain of restaurants. Look for an official announcement sometime in the next few weeks.

HP's gloomy news
The layoffs continue in Silicon Valley, and the company delivering this week's round of bad news was Hewlett-Packard. The tech giant said it will slash 6,000 positions from the company payroll, or about 6 percent of its workforce. This brings the total job cuts announced by HP to 10,700, and the company left open the possibility that more staff reductions would come.

HP said the layoffs are due to consumers spending less on technology, and followed company warnings that its third-quarter results would be even worse than it previously expected. Company chairwoman Carly Fiorina said she expects 3Q revenues to decline to 14 percent, down from 16 percent for the same quarter during 2000. HP's current quarter will end on July 31.

On Thursday, the day of the announcement, HWP volume hit a recent record volume of more than 16 million, up by over 10 million for the previous day and far outpacing any recent volume the stock has seen. Shareholders rushing to market on Thursday closed HWP down 1.68 from the previous day to an even 24. On Friday, a minor rebound saw shares up slightly to 24.36, down 2.06 from last Friday's close.

EBIZ licks its wounds
Ailing Linux commerce portal and systems builder EBIZ Enterprises is doing a little better this week. The company saw its stock hit an all-time low earlier this month after CEO David Shaw wrote a letter to shareholders, saying the company was in danger of closing without immediate additional funding. While no signs of that funding have yet appeared, EBIZ.OB has bounced back from its all-time low of 0.07 on July 11 to close out this week of business at 0.25.

Borland vs. WebGain
On Monday, Borland Software International filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against competing development toolmaker WebGain. The suit alleges that several of WebGain's products, including VisualCafe and StructureBuilder, infringe on seven different Borland patents. The company seeks monetary damages and an injunction preventing WebGain from further distribution of those software titles. Borland's suit was filed in response to an action brought against Borland by WebGain, which asks the court to rule that its products do not infringe upon Borland patents and furthermore, that those patents are invalid.

Borland stock received a stabilizing shot in the arm this Friday when investment firm Adams, Harkness, and Hill initiated coverage for BORL, advising its clients that the company was a "strong buy." Shares closed Friday at 13.86, down .0.59 from Thursday and 1.13 from its Monday peak of 14.99, but doing a bit better than this Wednesday's low of 13.60.

What is TiVo up to?
On Tuesday, TiVo Inc. gave notice that it plans to sell $50 million to $75 million worth of securities to accredited investors, or, as the press release says: "... aggregate principal amount of convertible subordinated notes with common stock warrants in a private placement."

Draw your own conclusions, perhaps a snippet from this week's 8K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission might help: "America Online, Inc. has the right, under certain conditions, including our failure to have a positive net cash position of more than
$25 million as measured at the end of each of our fiscal quarters, to require us to repurchase that number of shares of our Series A convertible preferred stock held by
America Online having a liquidation value equal to the amount of restricted funds then held in escrow for this purpose, pursuant to an escrow agreement between us
and America Online."

Here's how selected Open Source and related technology stocks ended the week:

Company Name Symbol 7/27 Close 7/20 Close
Apple AAPL 18.96 19.98
Borland Software Int'l BORL 13.86 14.70
Caldera International CALD 0.80 0.92
EBIZ Enterprises EBIZ.OB 0.25 0.115
Hewlett-Packard HWP 24.36 26.42
IBM IBM 104.70 105.70
Merlin Software Tech. MLSW.OB 0.25 0.26
Red Hat RHAT 4.01 3.40
Sun Microsystems SUNW 16.29 15.03
TiVo TIVO 7.03 7.50
VA Linux Systems LNUX 1.80 2.15
Wind River Systems WIND 14.62 15.17

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