It's a Windows World after all...
If Novell goes "private" in this manner, that will be the end of SuSE and anything else Novell has done constructive over the past decade. The parts of the company will surely be worth more, as you said, to an IBM or Oracle - especially if Oracle wants to kill a solid Linux competitor quickly.
The saddest irony is that, should this happen quickly, there is a chance that SCO might outlive Novell. I'm sure that SCO won't buy the patents they're missing, but there will be a bidding war between Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and maybe HP for them. MS has the deepest pockets...and we all know where that will end.
Just my conjecture. Hope I'm wrong.