Saturday, July 24, 2010

When It Comes to M&A Execution, It's Oracle vs Oracle

The $10 billion Oracle spent on acquiring Sun, BEA, and Hyperion will end up looking like small potatoes as the company gears up for a $70 billion buying spree.

According to an interview by CNN and following article by Fortune magazine, at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen on Thursday, Oracle President Charles Phillips declared that "we'll probably double what we spent on acquisitions" over the next five years compared to the last five. That would total roughly $70 billion, a dollar figure that had his interviewer, Fortune's Adam Lashinsky, asking if that could possibly be right. "If things hold up," Phillips said, "we could easily do that."

Apparently, Phillips didn't clear the number with the rest of the folks in Emerald City, Oracle's (ORCL) gleaming tower complex in Redwood City, Calif.

"Oracle does not have a five year acquisition budget. We don't even have a one year acquisition budget," a company spokeswoman said in a statement the next morning. "While it is highly unlikely that we will spend anything approaching $70 billion in five years, we will be opportunistic and, if market conditions warrant, we will buy additional companies that further our strategic goals and address our customers' needs." He also said Oracle had no plans to acquire, in response to specific questions at the conference, Fortune noted.

Phillips' comments came after a question about whether Oracle still believes consolidation is necessary in tech — and if Oracle is going to be leading the charge. Phillips said yes, and that you could expect Oracle to play in a number of areas: hardware, content, and "vertical markets that no one's ever heard of."

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