Corel founder slams ‘pathetic’ bid

Best wishes to rebels

Corel founder Dr Michael Cowpland has thrown in his support for dissident shareholders who are fighting the takeover of the company.

Describing the $97.6m cash offer tabled last month by Vector Capital 11 as "pathetic", Cowpland also expressed hopes that "we Corel fans succeed in helping an independent amazing future for Corel".

The dissident shareholders say that Corel's board is selling at bargain basement prices at the bottom of the market. They want the company to continue as an independent, executing its three-year turnaround plan.

According to Cowpland "Corel has a fantastic future with great Corel Graphics, WordPerfect Office 11 and Linux surging worldwide".

Is Cowpland bitter? He was, after all, probably ousted in 2000 by the board which is recommending the takeover. Or is he a hopeless romantic? Cowpland lost much credibility at Corel's helm, because of the Panglossian statements he made concerning the company's prospects, only to be undercut quickly by the stark reality of the company's actual performance.

Whatever. His intervention will succour the well-organised shareholder rebellion. Set up last month, CorelRescue.com claims that it has the support of seven million shareholder votes against the Vector Capital bid - even though most shareholders are against the plan. Admittedly this expression of support is in the form of a poll, rather than a formal proxy, so Corel's board can safely ignore this for now. &Reg;

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