Oracle maintains quick pace for takeovers, exec says

Focus likely to be on "tuck-in" deals targeting services such as security and business intelligence.

Oracle will likely keep targeting smaller companies as it seeks to keep up a quick pace of takeovers, although bigger deals are still on the table, an Oracle executive said on Thursday.

Vishal Bhagwati, an Oracle vice president whose responsibilities include global mergers and acquisitions, said he sees potential for so-called "tuck-in" deals to beef up the software maker's offerings, especially in the areas of security and business intelligence applications.

He also said the company would hopefully keep up a pace of closing three or four deals per quarter, with most takeovers likely falling in the range of $5 million to $100 million. Still, big deals remain on the table, he said.

"It's a pretty brisk mergers-and-acquisitions market right now," Bhagwati told Reuters on the sidelines of The Deal and Tech Confidential's Silicon Valley Summit. "Every software company is on the horizon."

His comments come after Oracle has spent some $20 billion over the past few years to push into the market for business software that helps companies automate operations ranging from human resources to accounting to marketing.

Led by chief executive Larry Ellison, Oracle jumped into the business applications market dominated by SAP of Germany as its own core database software business matured.

Investors were initially skeptical of the plan and kept a lid on the stock until earlier this year, when Oracle finally showed signs the strategy that had resulted in the takeovers of former large rivals such as PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems could be paying off.

Oracle also has no plans to ease up even in what Bhagwati said was a sellers market with big software makers and private equity funds fighting for deals and putting a premium on potential targets.

"It is pretty tough to be a buyer right now," he said.

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