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Ellison on a short leash in BEA merger announcement

Oracle founder, known for his quips and the occasional outlandish statement, faces painful task of putting it in slow-mode in announcing the BEA Systems acquisition.

For anyone who's ever listened to Oracle founder Larry Ellison talk about his company, or on any topic for that matter, it can be entertaining. The dude is humorous, has great punch-line timing, and at times will make outlandish comments that send his public relations team into major damage control.

So, it was painful to listen in on the company's audio Webcast (registration required) announcing its $8.5 billion acquisition of BEA Systems.

The tightly scripted press conference, which had Ellison reading off a piece a paper, conjured up images of a tiger in a tight cage. His comments, which generally flow fast and freely, were so plodding in the press conference that occasionally he stumbled over his words, and, at one point, said "let me try that again" as he took another stab at reading off the script.

Alfred Chuang, BEA's co-founder and CEO, followed up Ellison's presentation, sounding comfortable with the task of reading off a script. And, in his relaxed tone, he wrapped up his comments with: "And back to you, Larry."

But Larry was gone.

He had left the proverbial building.

It almost makes one wonder whether BEA had negotiated the uncharacteristically scripted press conference as part of its buyout agreement.