Oracleworld - Oracle is in a buying mood

Oracle is sizing up further acquisition options, according to Oracle president, Charles Phillips.

Oracle is sizing up further acquisition options, according to Oracle president Charles Phillips.

The software company is constantly reviewing its options for buying other companies, Phillips said at the Oracleworld conference in London. 

And the combination of a consolidating market and an economic recovery in the market over the last year has made future acquisition deals in the near term more likely, he said.

"For us today, it makes more sense. A lot of companies have come to us asking to be bought, and a lot of companies have seen the writing on the wall. Our choices [for acquisition] are growing and we're sifting through them as we speak."

The company is continuing with its hostile bid to acquire rival enterprise software maker PeopleSoft for $7.7bn (£4.3bn). 

Phillips would not give time lines or name any companies in possible contention for acquisition, other than the CRM software company Siebel Systems.

Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison said in evidence for its antitrust trial against the US Department of Justice in June that Siebel was second on Oracle's wish-list of companies to buy.

Phillips indicated that the company will once again offer an extension to its current 10 September deadline for its PeopleSoft offer. "Extending the tender offer is now fairly standard," he said. 

Though Oracle currently has only about 6% of PeopleSoft's total outstanding shares tendered, Phillips said the shareholders want something to happen.

Phillips said he had heard the theories that its battle to acquire PeopleSoft may have driven away potential customers scared off by the resulting uncertainty created in the market, but that it was difficult to measure the impact of the bid.

Echoing what analysts have been saying for some time, Phillips conceded that the enterprise applications market is just about saturated, and with the market consolidating down to a few big players such as Oracle and SAP, opportunities for growth have become limited.

"Market share is basically measured in revenue: you can get additional revenue from existing customers or from migrating customers," Phillips said.

Laura Rohde writes for IDG News Service

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