Oracle sours on BEA buy plan

BEA is no longer worth the $17-per-share price, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison says

Oracle, at least for the moment anyway, has backed away from its pursuit of BEA Systems.

Speaking during a meeting with analysts Wednesday, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Oracle wanted to buy BEA for its sales force and to scale up; Oracle has been replacing BEA in some customer sites, Ellison said. BEA's technology had nothing to do with the effort, he said.

But Oracle has soured on its pursuit.

"It seems very unlikely that anyone's going to buy BEA right now," Ellison said. Oracle in October offered $17 per share for the company, bringing the total price tag to about $6.7 billion. BEA countered with a $21 per share price; Oracle declined and the offer expired on October 28.

Ellison said "the $17 price seems too high right now," he said.

"At $17 a share, it was a highly accretive transaction," said Ellison.

"If we made another offer, the price would be lower," Ellison said.

"If their goal was to stay independent, I think they're doing a good job," Ellison said. BEA has gone from one potential buyer to none and has taken some actions to make the company not worth acquiring, according to Ellison.

"It looks like no one's going to buy BEA," Ellison said.

BEA filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on November 14 a plan to be enacted in case the company was taken over. Under that plan, if an employee is terminated without good cause or the employee leaves for good reason, the employee will receive a lump sum severance of benefits ranging from three to 12 months' pay and continued payment of health benefits.

Also, executives Richard Geraffo, David Gai and Mark Carges would receive two years' severance pay as opposed to one year under the previous policy.

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