A Novell spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
In March, Novell rejected a $2 billion takeover offer from investment fund and shareholder Elliott Associates, calling its offer of $5.75 a share inadequate.
Novell shares closed up 3.6 percent on Wednesday at $6.03.
Initial offers for Novell are expected to top the Elliott bid, the Journal reported, adding that a private buyer could acquire Novell for about $500 million in cash and take on debt to cover the rest of the cost.
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski, editing by Bernard Orr)