Oracle makes bid for BEA

Business software giant offers to buy BEA for $6.66 billion. Oracle's president says he hopes to quickly complete a "friendly transaction."

For an analysis of the deal by CNET News.com's Stephen Shankland, see "Buyout could serve both BEA, Oracle.")

Oracle said Friday it offered to buy BEA Systems for about $6.66 billion, its latest effort to up the ante against Microsoft and Germany's SAP in the fiercely competitive market for business software.

Oracle offered $17 per share in cash for BEA, which is a 25 percent premium over BEA's closing stock price on Thursday. Shares jumped in premarket trading to match the offer price.

"This proposal is the culmination of repeated conversations with BEA's management over the last several years," Oracle President Charles Phillips said. "We look forward to completing a friendly transaction as soon as possible."

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has been pushing BEA to put itself up for sale and, by October 4, had built a 13.22 percent stake in the company.

BEA sells application server software and middleware, which is used by software developers to establish systems on which other applications operate. Its products are used in transaction processing, billing, customer service, provisioning and securities trading.

Oracle has spent the last several years buying up other specialty software makers in an effort to compete with Microsoft and SAP.

The proposed deal is Oracle's biggest since it bought Siebel Systems for about $6 billion in early 2006. Earlier this year it bought Hyperion Solutions for more than $3 billion.

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