Oracle nets more utilities expertise with Lodestar buy

With yet another aquisition, Oracle continues to build up skills in vertical industries including the utilities sector

Oracle plans to purchase meter data management provider Lodestar as part of its ongoing strategy to build up skills in several vertical industries including the utilities sector.

Subject to closing conditions, Oracle expects to complete the acquisition in May when Lodestar staff will become part of Oracle's utilities global business unit. The financial terms of the deal weren't revealed.

Oracle acquired a suite of utilities applications last year when it bought SPL WorldGroup in November. SPL provides revenue and operations management software for utilities as well as tax management software for government agencies. Oracle positioned SPL's utilities products as complementary to Lodestar's software. As well as meter data management, Lodestar sells commercial and industrial billing, transaction management, and load research, forecasting and profiling software.

By combining the SPL and Lodestar technologies, Oracle hopes to offer a wide-ranging suite of software for customers in the utilities business. The vendor will also further integrate Lodestar's offerings with its database, general-purpose business applications and middleware.

Last month, in discussing Oracle's most recent financial results, CEO Larry Ellison claimed that the company's focus on selling industry-specific applications to Oracle's existing customers was paying off in terms of boosting revenue. The database, middleware and applications vendor plans to continue buying up technologies in the industries it already plays in like utilities, telecommunications and retail, and may also consider entering other verticals if Oracle can buy market leaders, according to Ellison.

Founded in 1978, Lodestar has its headquarters in Peabody, Massachusetts, employs 125 staff and has over 114 customers around the world including Ergon Energy, Hydro Ottawa and TXU Energy. Oracle estimated that more than half of Lodestar's customers are already using Oracle's applications.

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