Novell said earlier this year that it might seek a buyer, after receiving an unsolicited bid from Elliott Associates to acquire the company for $5.75 a share. In a statement in March, Novell said its board had reviewed the offer and concluded that it was "inadequate" and undervalued the company.
It also said that it would review its options, including potentially a stock repurchase program, a joint venture or a sale of the company.
Novell has now set a deadline of this week for interested parties to make their offers, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Novell may take more time to whittle down the bidders and ask for final offers.
Twenty companies have expressed an interest in Novell, most of them private equity firms, the Journal said.
Novell's shares closed at $6.03 on Wednesday, close to the 52-week high they reached in March after Elliott's bid.