Takeover targets shy away from Oracle's advances

Companies that found themselves on the Oracle shopping list last week didn't know whether to fear for their jobs or treat it as a compliment.

Most were just content to be included in the list of nine companies that Oracle earmarked as strategically positive investments for purchase.

The 48-page list, penned by Oracle in April 2003, took aim at five business application software makers and four niche players before settling on PeopleSoft as its prime target of choice.

The list included Lawson Software, Cerner, SunGard and JD Edwards & Co, which PeopleSoft bought in 2002.

Oracle also took a keen interest in BEA Systems, Sybase, Business Objects and Documentum, which had already been purchased by EMC in late 2003.

The list is evidence of Oracle's attempts to consolidate its position in the market with a broader product set and gain a foothold in a number of new markets.

With the exception of Sybase, companies on the list Computerworld contacted were unwilling to respond to enquiries and likely a little unnerved by the attentions of a predatory suitor like Oracle.

Sybase Australia managing director, Peter Fletcher, said the company has built a customer base that Oracle wants as its own.

"We have continually focused on areas where we have traditionally been strong and have now built a customer base in the areas that Oracle wants to be in," Fletcher said.

"But in the end, the Oracle culture is much larger than the Sybase one and we now have to become part of that, but we can offer technological strengths it doesn't have, like data warehousing and middleware."

Ironically, Fletcher is a former Oracle employee and says Oracle's wish to takeover the company is an "outright testament to the success of Sybase".

"I think it is a compliment that Oracle thinks Sybase is worth buying because we currently compete very well with Oracle; we don't loose business to it in head-to-head technology," Fletcher said.

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More about BEABEA SystemsBusiness ObjectsCernerDocumentumEMC CorporationJD EdwardsLawson Software AustraliaOraclePeopleSoftSUNGARDSybase Australia

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