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InfoQ Homepage News Oracle to Acquire BEA Systems

Oracle to Acquire BEA Systems

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Oracle and BEA Systems announced their agreement for Oracle to buy BEA's outstanding shares for $19.375 per share. BEA shares were trading at $15.58 before the offer.

This move has been underway for some time. As the Register puts it:

The two have been courting for some time although Oracle walked away from a possible deal in October after saying it could not better its offer of $17 a share. BEA had demanded as much as $21 a share.

At $19.375 per share, Oracle is paying $8.5bn for the middleware firm - or $7.2bn once BEA's cash pile of $1.3bn is removed from the equation.

As is typical in a merger of this size, the press releases are vague about the long-term resolution of the overlap in the product lines, in part because many of those decisions will be made in the months and years to come:

... customers can choose among Oracle and BEA middleware products, knowing that those products will gracefully interoperate and be supported for years to come ..

It would not be uncommon for there to be a long period where customers of both BEA and Oracle will get a chance to express their preferences through their purchasing while the parent companies consider the options, a transition period where a direction will be set and customers given opportunities to transition as necessary, followed by some projects seeing an eventual sunset and end-of-life because they overlap heavily with another product which may be better, or simply better-placed in the market.

In particular, the overlap is most striking with OC4J and WebLogic, there are many other examples from OpenJPA and TopLink, through Service-Oriented Architecture, Business Process Management and Enterprise Service Bus stacks, and even development environments with BEA Workshop and JDeveloper.

Reactions have been interesting, attracting media attention and community attention alike:

Finally, the spectre of insider trading has already been raised, which might cast a pall over the acquisition.

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