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Novell Meets Estimates, Shares Fall After Hours

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met analysts' expectations for the fourth quarter, but said the period's results reflected dramatic declines in traditional packaged software sales as revenue fell 21% from a year ago.

Excluding a restructuring charge, the company broke even on a per share basis for the quarter, in line with the four-analyst estimate tabulated by

First Call/Thomson Financial

. The company earned 21 cents in the year-ago period.

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Revenue fell to $273 million from $345 million a year ago.

Novell expects incremental expenses to be higher than previously expected for the first quarter and fiscal 2001 following the company's decision to accelerate the deployment of its Content Exchange services. The company estimated that its investments and associated expenses for the services will total about $65 million.

Shares of Novell closed the regular session slightly lower at $7.44 in


trading, but tumbled in after-hours activity. Novell was recently quoted at $6.75 on the


ECN, down 10% on the day.