ZDNet writes today that Oracle is making a bid for BEA for the demonic price of $6.66 billion. Well, the devil is in the details and there are plenty of them to hash out if this deal ever flies. There is a large degree of overlap in the application server, development tool, collaboration, and portal spaces between BEA and Oracle. At least BEA doesn’t have a content management offering too, so Stellent is safe for now. I find it rather ironic that after writing in May about “How Many Portals Should a Vendor Offer?” that both Oracle and BEA have two sets of portal products on offer, now Oracle could have four (4!) portal products in its portfolio. I’d love to be a fly on the wall as they try to rationalize that one!
There have been rumors of Oracle (or others) buying BEA for quite a while, but it hasn’t happened yet. For example, in May of 2004, Java.net reported “Faced with a tough, if not losing, battle for PeopleSoft, Oracle executives said Thursday that they were considering other acquisitions… Henley (CFO, Chairman) said Oracle had been ‘looking at a variety of areas’ but didn’t identify any potential takeover targets. It has expressed interest in BEA as well as reserve over the price.” Of course BEA was trading at about $8.00 a share in mid-2004 versus $18.05 at the moment.
Time will tell if this deal shall come to pass. It is not for me to judge the will of Carl Icahn, who has reportedly been pushing for a sale for quite some time now. This simply shows that Oracle is continuing to seek growth through acquisition and that BEA has been undervalued, which should came as no revelation to anyone.