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SOA & WOA: Article

ORACLE BEA - BEAS Still in the Midst of a Backdating Mess

BEA stock was down around $11 before Icahn entered the picture and is still in the midst of a backdating mess

(October 12, 2007) - Early this morning Oracle said that it had sent the BEA board a letter on Tuesday offering to buy the company for roughly $6.66 billion, a provocative number. The offer is for $17-a-share cash, a 25% premium over yesterday’s close.  BEA has been an Oracle acquisition target for years.

When Oracle started on its acquisition rampage it said it had time before it got around to BEA – but now that it’s running out of acquisition possibilities and corporate raider Carl Icahn with his newly acquired 13.2% position in BEA is going around saying BEA ought to be acquired – well, Oracle is responding to the situation like a cat to catnip.

All Oracle needs now is a definitive agreement and BEA may resist. It has recently rejected Icahn’s advice about selling out and has fretted, like others before it, about getting lost inside the rapacious Oracle machine.

Theoretically, it could turn to HP, Microsoft or even archrival IBM for rescue. Theoretically. Smelling a possible fight, the punters on Wall Street immediately bid BEA’s stock price up over Oracle’s 17 bucks, evidently figuring BEA will go down sweeter.

In Oracle’s canned statement president Chuck Phillips called Oracle’s proposition a “serious proposal” and a “substantial premium.” “We believe,” he said, “our all-cash offer provides the best value for BEA’s shareholders and the best home for BEA’s employees and customers. This proposal is the culmination of repeated conversations with BEA’s management over the last several years. We look forward to completing a friendly transaction as soon as possible.”

And he added Oracle’s brand of comfort about BEA’s products. “Our continuing support commitment has been amply demonstrated with all of our previous acquisitions, including PeopleSoft and Siebel. BEA will be no different,” he said. “The acquisition of BEA by Oracle will enable an increase in engineering resources that will in turn accelerate the development of our world-class suite of middleware. Both Oracle and BEA customers will benefit from this increase in engineering investment as they migrate to modern SOA technologies.”

BEA, whose stock was down around $11 a couple months ago before Icahn entered the picture and is still in the midst of a backdating mess, isn’t picking up the phone to callers and has yet to issue any public statements.

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