Oracle in hunt for new acquisitions

7 Sep 2004

LONDON – Rumours that Oracle is scouting around for new acquisition opportunities even as the battle to acquire Peoplesoft continues were confirmed yesterday at Oracle OpenWorld.

Oracle president Charles Phillips said the company was “constantly reviewing” the market for new acquisition targets and “sifting through them”.

He added that the firm’s acquisition strategy had “evolved and changed” within the last year, becoming more aggressive as industry trends worked in its favour. “The industry is more mature, the technologies are more standard and easier to integrate and we’ve got the capital we need [to launch bids].”

The company was keeping an open mind about acquisition targets, he said, and was looking at both applications vendors and infrastructure or platform developers.

Phillips also tacitly confirmed one other industry rumour. Asked whether it was true that Tom Siebel had come to Larry Ellison’s house to persuade him to buy the struggling CRM vendor, Phillips smiled and said: “Yeah, something like that…”

Referring to the ongoing Peoplesoft saga, Phillips denied that it had become a drag on the business and was affecting sales. He pointed out that Oracle had actually improved its share of the applications market in the past year. He also said Oracle would remain committed to its own applications were the acquisition to be successful.

“The acquisition of Peoplesoft will not detract from the development of Oracle E-Business Suite. We won’t try and merge the two products. The Oracle product is the one we’d offer to new customers but if existing Peoplesoft customers want to stay with those products, that’s fine too.”

He was more vague on the fate of JD Edwards customers, some of whom have complained about poor levels of support from Peoplesoft following the merger of the two companies last year, except to point out that Oracle would not do development on older technology platforms.

By Brian Skelly