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Oracle takeover caps wild week in enterprise applications market

Michael S. Mimoso, Editorial Director

Safe to say there haven't been many weeks like this in any sector of technology for acquisitions and takeovers.

Oracle's $5.1 billion takeover bid against PeopleSoft, announced this morning, put a cap on a watershed week in the enterprise applications space that featured two other significant deals that leave investors and users wondering what shoe is going to drop next.

PeopleSoft, ironically, began the madness on Monday when it announced its intention to acquire J.D. Edwards in a $1.7 billion stock deal. Together, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards would pose a formidable firm with 11,000 customers and 13,000 employees serving enterprises worldwide. Today's announcement from Oracle, however, puts that deal up in the air, with some analysts speculating that Oracle would have no interest in J.D. Edwards.

On Tuesday, more movement when Invensys PLC made official what had been long anticipated when it sold enterprise applications vendor Baan for $135 million to a group that includes Cerberus Capital Management LP and General Atlantic Partners LLC. Baan will be integrated into another other group's holdings, SSA Global Technologies, a manufacturing technology developer, creating a $600 million company that serves 16,500 customers. Baan specializes in enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and supply chain software for the manufacturing industry.

Rumors also swirled this week on Wall Street that IBM would acquire Siebel, but

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analysts are skeptical on that possibility because of Big Blue's strong partnerships with PeopleSoft and Siebel.

Today's takeover bid from Oracle will proceed on Monday, when it makes its tender offer official.

Oracle chief financial officer Jeff Henley said, "Given PeopleSoft's current prospects and plans, we believe our offer presents compelling value to PeopleSoft shareholders. In addition, we expect that the acquisition of PeopleSoft will increase Oracle's earnings per share. We expect there to be substantial cost savings and minimal business integration risk."


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