Oracle to buy BEA for $8.5bn

Oracle to buy BEA for $8.5bn

Oracle has signed a definitive agreement to acquire service-oriented architecture (SOA) vendor BEA Systems in a deal worth approximately $8.5 billion.

Under the agreement Oracle will pay $19.375 per share for California-based BEA Systems. The offer represents a 24% premium over BEA's closing price of $15.58 on Tuesday.

News of the deal comes three months after BEA Systems dismissed an earlier unsolicited $6.7 billion, or $17 a share, takeover offer from Oracle as too low.

The $19.375 per share deal is thought to represent a compromise between the $17 that Oracle originally offered for the company and the $21 per share price that BEA reportedly wanted.

Oracle president, Charles Phillips, says: "This transaction will accelerate the adoption of Java-based middleware technologies and SOA; advance innovation in enterprise applications infrastructure software; extend our strategic relationships with customers and partners; and increase our penetration in key regions like China."

Commenting on the deal, BEA chairman and CEO Alfred Chuang says: "This transaction is the culmination of that diligent and thoughtful process, and we believe it is in the best interests of our shareholders."

Oracle says BEA's board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The deal is expected to close by mid-2008, subject to BEA stockholder approval, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

BEA has been under pressure to sell from activist investor Carl Icahn, who holds a 13.2% stake in the company. According to press reports Icahn is set to vote in favour of the merger with Oracle.

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