Rumored Bid From Computer Sciences Raises Hackles of Policy Management Investor

Also, more on Open Text and another dollop of DSL. (And, psst, check out the DSL discussion on <I>TSC's</I> new message boards.)
Author:
Publish date:

Thursday thwack:

Question:

Did

Policy Management Systems

(PMS)

, a provider of information technology software and consulting to the insurance industry, receive an unsolicited takeover in recent weeks from

Computer Sciences

(CSC)

? And was it rejected as inadequate? That's what I hear from a large Policy Management investor who is also one of this column's longtime, straight-shooting sources and who didn't get his info directly from the company.

Officials from both companies declined comment, citing policies not to comment on rumor, but this much is clear: The investor, whose own holdings are just shy of Policy Management CEO Larry Wilson's 3.7% stake, isn't happy. "This company is worth a lot of money," he says. "It's a principal supplier to an industry that has to spend a fortune on IT."

Fine, but maybe a bid, if one really was received, was genuinely inadequate. Computer Sciences, however, isn't known for being cheap; several years ago, it paid roughly a 30% premium to buy

Continuum

.

Closed case on Open Text:

An item

here a mere month ago suggested that the quality of

Open Text's

(OTEX) - Get Report

earnings last quarter were lousy. The only reason it beat analyst estimates was that it had a lower tax rate and higher-than-expected interest income -- both of which have nothing to do with operations. Now the company itself is guiding analysts to lower estimates by a few pennies this quarter and next. The company's news release said its recent acquisitions won't help earnings as soon as expected.

Get in on the DSL discussion on our

Message Boards.

Another dollop of DSL:

Did I hit a sore nerve, or what?

Yesterday's item on my unsuccessful efforts at getting DSL connected to my New Jersey home produced an avalanche of email, most of it sympathetic, from readers everywhere who have had a similar experience. We're talking readers who

want

to pay extra for the speed, but can't because the Bells can't deliver on their promises. We're talking readers like

Jeffery Kelly

, who says, "I received a mailer from them touting DSL and having an extra line for the Net. As usual when I called, no DSL is available at my home. When might it be available ... response, and I quote, "who knows?"

We're talking readers like

Kris Kelley

, who writes: "

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

mailed me a promotional piece that provided a phone number to call to get the service hooked up at my upper East Side apartment. Was thinking of going with the premium $80 a month service which is their most expensive and probably highest margin offering. Dialed the number several times trying to order the service but the touch-tone phone instructions failed every time and disconnected me. Oh well, maybe I can get a cable modem hooked up in the next year. I think the cable service is at least on a par with my RBOC. Pathetic."

We're talking readers like

Thomas Chamberlain

, who lives in Gurnee, Ill., about 30 miles north of Chicago. "I have been hearing advertisements for cable and DSL for months. I have called all of the numbers and in most cases I do not even get a call back. When I do get a call the representative usually tells me he does not know if I can get the service and will call be back -- they never do."

We're all sick of the lies, damned lies, because this great technology will only work if you live less than 12,500 feet as the wire winds from the central switching station.

Oh, and so much for my plan to move back to tech-savvy Northern California as a solution.

Jim O'Brien

lives in beautiful Saratoga, deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. Not only does he live too far from the central switching office, but his

AT&T/TCI

(T) - Get Report

cable doesn't support

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

service in his neighborhood.

One solution, of course, is to avoid the Bells and let the free market fill the void. (Such an opportunity!) Reader

Sean White

, unable to connect with his baby Bell, is getting his DSL in the next 2 weeks from

InternetConnect

.

And one of the perks of my job: I heard from an exec of

NorthPoint Communications

(NPNT)

, which leases switches from Bell Atlantic. He says I'm just 10,200 feet from the central switch; he'll check in to see what the problem is. If there's no problem, I say we have a deal. (Unless it's ridiculously expensive.) I'll let you know what happens.

Meanwhile, care to join the DSL discussion? Rather than email me, carry on your conversation on

TSC's

new message boards. Unlike most message boards,

TSC's

are monitored to filter out the libel, slander, death threats and other nonsense that is helping make a mockery of the First Amendment. Step this way ...

Herb Greenberg writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in TheStreet.com. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at

herb@thestreet.com. Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.

Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.