Oracle ups the stakes in Retek battle

Oracle has stepped in to try to snatch retail business software provider Retek from under SAP's nose.

Oracle has stepped in to try to snatch retail business software provider Retek from under SAP's nose.

The Retek board had already accepted a £275m offer for the company from SAP, but Oracle has put in a higher bid, at £292m.

US-based Retek provides an integrated retail application suite to more than 200 customers in over 20 countries around the world. Users include Abercrombie & Fitch, Bhs, Gap, New Look, Dixons, French retailer FNAC, Ingram Micro and the US Postal Service.

When tabling its offer for Retek last week, SAP said the retail industry is entering a new phase of packaged software adoption as retail companies increasingly consider IT as a strategic instrument to drive business growth. It said the combination of Retek's application portfolio, industry expertise and market presence would allow it to respond to this demand.

But Oracle, already a close business partner of Retek and shareholder in the company, sees the acquisition as an ideal way to take a big step ahead of SAP in the US retail market. It recently increased its shareholding in Retek to about 10%.

"Oracle's applications business in North America is larger than SAP's," said Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison. "We intend to defend our number one position."

Oracle president Charles Phillips said, "Retek customers I have talked to said they would prefer Oracle to buy Retek."

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