A black cloud hung over Novell's Provo campus Monday while hundreds of employees were packing up personal belongings and being laid off.

At its height, Novell employed as many as 3,500 in Provo. According to one source, the layoffs have been looming on the horizon for a while. Some reports estimated the layoffs at 700-800 people, but the company did not release an official number Monday.

Social media, particularly Twitter, had comments running all day about the layoffs. Even the person who ran the NovellTalks Twitter account posted this farewell message, "To all those who have followed me, I'm sad to say that this account is being retired as I am leaving Novell. Best to all!"

Almost as soon as the announcements came of folks being laid off, Twitter messages were being posted from other companies saying they had openings.

"We don't have much information about this and are still waiting to hear the details," Provo Mayor John Curtis said. "We hope for the best for any employees who are negatively impacted by this change. Novell is important to this city as a major IT employer and community partner. We're anxious to learn as much as we can about its future."

According to a Novell employee, many of the jobs that are being lost will be in the human resources, finance, accounting and legal departments, as well as under-performing departments.

The same source indicated that other high-value job openings likely will be posted after the initial layoffs.

Novell's new owner, Attachmate, announced that Novell is moving its headquarters back to Provo. The company, founded in 1979 in Provo, had moved its headquarters to Waltham, Mass., in 2004.

"We're very excited to be bringing Novell back to its roots and moving the headquarters back to Provo and back to Utah. This will become the center for the Novell business going forward," Jeff Hawn, chairman and CEO of Attachmate, said in a statement. "Inevitably with these kinds of complex acquisitions there will be some workforce reductions. These changes will affect employees internationally, not just in Utah. While regrettable, we are confident that as part of The Attachmate Group, Novell will continue to innovate and prosper and we're excited about the future."

Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce president Steve Densley said, "There may be some short-time temporary concerns because of the large layoff, but there is no question the return of Novell is an exciting thing for the business community. There are exciting things on the horizon for this area, and Novell adds another great dynamic to the growing business community."

Attachmate Corporation on Saturday completed plans to acquire Novell for $6.10 per share in cash. Novell is now a wholly owned subsidiary of The Attachmate Group, the parent company of Attachmate Corporation.

Novell also announced that immediately prior to the completion of its merger with Attachmate Corporation, it had completed its previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.

Novell's common stock ceased trading on the NASDAQ April 27, and the company expects to deregister and suspend its reporting obligations.

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