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SCO Group Likes Its Stock at These Levels

Updated from 10:02 a.m. EST

SCO Group (SCOX) continued to beguile Thursday, announcing a share buyback after a ninefold run-up in its stock price that reflects wagering on its multimillion-dollar legal campaign to privatize Linux.

The technology outfit said it will buy back up to 1.5 million common shares over the next 24 months, believing as it does that they are an "attractive investment opportunity" at current levels. That level was recently $9.50, down a penny from Wednesday night, but up from the $1.09 they touched in February 2003.

"This action reflects our strong belief in the fundamental value of our intellectual property and core business," SCO said in a statement. "We believe we will have sufficient capital resources to undertake this buyback program and continue to pursue our strategic initiatives."

The company is undeniably flush after selling a convertible note at the end of last year: It reported more than $64 million of cash and equivalents at Oct. 31, 2003. But the company also faces a long and possibly costly road in trying to sue control of Linux away from competitors such as IBM (IBM). The same balance sheet listed a $10.5 million accrual for fees to the law firms pusuing the cases.

SCO reported a net loss under generally accepted accounting principles of $1.6 million, or 12 cents a share, in the fourth quarter.

Earlier this week The Wall Street Journal reported that Computer Associates entered a licensing contract for Linux with SCO, raising worries among Linux users who believe in their right to use the software for free. But a CA spokesman later clarified that the licenses were thrown into a settlement last year with an SCO investor and suggested they are no indication of CA's support for SCO's tactics.

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