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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oracle has agreed to buy BEA Systems for about $8.5 billion,

Oracle President Charles Phillips speaks during a news conference in Mumbai January 10, 2006. Oracle on Tuesday set a Sunday deadline for BEA to accept its $17-per- share offer.

Update: Oracle to buy BEA Systems for $8.5 billion

Three months after BEA turned Oracle down, the deal is set to go through

Oracle has agreed to buy BEA Systems for about $8.5 billion, or $19.375 per share, the companies announced.

BEA's board of directors turned down an initial offer from Oracle of $17 per BEA share in October, saying it "significantly undervalues BEA." Oracle in turn dismissed the BEA board's counteroffer of $21 per share as "impossibly high."

But on Wednesday, the companies split the difference.

"This deal is a very big step toward completing our vision of becoming the strategic enterprise software vendor of choice," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said during a conference call Wednesday, apparently reading from a prepared statement. "Simply stated, this combination of BEA gets us where we need to be ... across the software stack, in more verticals and more regions across the world."

Both companies have "numerous" middleware offerings, but BEA's line is nonetheless "overwhelmingly complementary," Ellison said.

The deal will provide scale to Oracle's middleware business, and ultimately create "the leading platform for customers for to manage and deploy enterprise applications," he asserted.

Beyond technology, acquiring BEA will bring valuable human capital over to Oracle, according to Ellison: "Middleware requires a highly specialized, technically sophisticated sales force. In a very competitive market, it's difficult to find that kind of talent."

Most BEA customers are already Oracle customers, according to Ellison.

Oracle "plans to aggressively support BEA products in a manner similar to other acquisitions," he pledged.

BEA's chairman and CEO, Alfred Chuang, said that Oracle and BEA officials will be working on a comprehensive integration plan in the coming months.

"We recognize that a smooth and quick integration is essential to the success of the transaction," he said.

The executives did not take questions following the brief call.

"It's a good acquisition for Oracle and BEA," said James Kobielus, an analyst with Forrester Research. "BEA brings strength in some areas, like complex event processing. It's a strong platform for real-time business intelligence."

"There's also the fact that Oracle is very strong on data warehousing and batch ETL, while BEA is quite strong on data federation with AquaLogic. Oracle has data federation too, but BEA is more mature," he added.

The executives' promises about continued support for BEA's software rings true, according to Kobielus.

"If you look at Oracle's track record, they've done a good job of acquiring substantial brands, linking them into the Fusion middleware portfolio and then allowing them to continue steadily," he said. "Look at Hyperion. A lot of people said Oracle would discontinue Hyperion's BI, but clearly they haven't, and I don't see them doing so."

BEA's customers should watch and wait for a while, the analyst said.

"M&As don't change anything fundamentally when they are announced, or even when they are closed," he said. "It's only after the merged companies' CEOs get together and decide where they are going next, and these details start to become public, it's only then that CIOs should start to rethink their sourcing and partnering strategies."

BEA's products probably won't be rebranded for six to nine months, and two to three years of integration work will follow that, he predicted.

The companies expect to close the deal by mid-year, subject to the approval of regulators and BEA shareholders.

Oracle is financing the deal through a combination of cash and short-term credit, according to Ellison.

Oracle Database
Oracle Database (commonly referred to as Oracle RDBMS or simply as Oracle) is a relational database management system (RDBMS) software product released by Oracle Corporation that has become a major feature of database computing.

Larry Ellison and his friends and former co-workers Bob Miner and Ed Oates started the consultancy Software Development Laboratories (SDL) in 1977. SDL developed the original version of the Oracle software. The name Oracle comes from the code-name of a CIA-funded project Ellison had worked on while previously employed by Ampex.

Many widespread computing platforms have come to use the Oracle database software extensively.

Physical and logical structuring
An Oracle database system comprises at least one instance of the application, along with data storage. An instance comprises a set of operating-system processes and memory-structures that interact with the storage. Typical processes include PMON (the process monitor) and SMON (the system monitor).

Users of Oracle databases refer to the server-side memory-structure as the SGA (System Global Area). The SGA typically holds cache information such as data-buffers, SQL commands and user information. In addition to storage, the database consists of online redo logs (which hold transactional history). Processes can in turn archive the online redo logs into archive logs (offline redo logs), which provide the basis (if necessary) for data recovery and for some forms of data replication.

The Oracle RDBMS stores data logically in the form of tablespaces and physically in the form of data files. Tablespaces can contain various types of memory segments; for example, Data Segments, Index Segments etc. Segments in turn comprise one or more extents. Extents comprise groups of contiguous data blocks. Data blocks form the basic units of data storage. At the physical level, data-files comprise one or more data blocks, where the block size can vary between data-files.

Oracle database management keeps track of its computer data storage with the help of information stored in the SYSTEM tablespace. The SYSTEM tablespace contains the data dictionary — and often (by default) indexes and clusters. (A data dictionary consists of a special collection of tables that contains information about all user-objects in the database). Since version 8i, the Oracle RDBMS also supports "locally managed" tablespaces which can store space management information in bitmaps in their own headers rather than in the SYSTEM tablespace (as happens with the default "dictionary-managed" tablespaces).

If the Oracle database administrator has instituted Oracle RAC (Real Application Clusters), then multiple instances, usually on different servers, attach to a central storage array. This scenario offers numerous advantages, most importantly performance, scalability and redundancy. However, support becomes more complex, and many sites do not use RAC. In version 10g, grid computing has introduced shared resources where an instance can use (for example) CPU resources from another node (computer) in the grid.

The Oracle DBMS can store and execute stored procedures and functions within itself. PL/SQL (Oracle Corporation's proprietary procedural extension to SQL), or the object-oriented language Java can invoke such code objects and/or provide the programming structures for writing them.

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