Oracle fields queries about takeover bids

The Oracle team has been fielding questions about its next possible acquisition this week, as Gitex delegates want to know where chief executive Larry Ellison will strike next.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  September 29, 2005

The Oracle team has been fielding questions about its next possible acquisition this week, as Gitex delegates want to know where chief executive Larry Ellison will strike next. In recent months, the enterprise software giant has not only snapped up CRM stalwart Siebel, but also acquired smaller firms such as ProfitLogic. Previously, Oracle swallowed ERP rival PeopleSoft. “We’ve had quite a lot of questions,” confirms Ayman Abouseif managing director for Oracle’s GCC operation. Bosses over on the Cognos stand fanned the flames further by suggesting that it wouldn’t be surprised it Oracle soon added a business intelligence (BI) vendor to its list of acquisitions. “Oracle named four software vendors it was looking at during the court case surrounding the PeopleSoft acquisition. Larry Ellison actually said PeopleSoft, Siebel, BEA and Business Objects. Oracle has already acquired PeopleSoft and it has just bought Siebel. It sounds like he was telling the truth,” says Graham Walter, VP for the UK, Middle East & South Africa at Business Objects’ rival Cognos. What’s more, Abouseif hasn’t ruled out an approach for a BI vendor, as Oracle is keen to expand its footprint in that area. “There are a number of companies that have been named as potential [acquisition] targets, but there are also some that have not,” he says. “Is it conceivable that we would buy a BI vendor? Probably yes,” Abouseif adds. Oracle’s interest in business intelligence firms stems from the vendor’s belief that BI will be one of the next big growth markets for IT. What’s more, Abouseif believes this growth will happen in the Middle East, as well as in developed markets. “A lot of the money that went into IT post Y2K was invested in automating processes, and that has delivered greater efficiency and reduced costs [for users],” he says. “The next phase is all about decision making and making it more powerful – whether that is for the marketing executive, HR manager or the chief executive officer. This is absolutely the next thing in IT and it all falls under business intelligence,” Abouseif explains. While many vendors shy away from acquisitions due to the time it takes for returns to emerge, Oracle has no such fears. In fact, Abouseif says Oracle has become excellent exponents of integrating other businesses into its organisation. “Oracle has engineered the process of acquiring and integrating other software companies into it,” he says. “For example, when we acquired TimesTen we were able to offer it straight away and we actually got a call from one of the largest telecos in the region a week after the deal to talk about it.” According to Abouseif, the reason Oracle is able to effectively integrate software firms into its solution stack is because many offerings are either built on Oracle or have existing interconnects to it.

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