Services & Software

Oracle shells out $9.3 billion for cloud app pioneer NetSuite

Oracle -- whose CEO Larry Ellison was NetSuite's first and biggest investor -- sees midsize customers in its future.

Oracle sets its sights on smaller businesses with NetSuite. The cloud app pioneer sells financial, HR and e-commerce software that's less expensive and easier to install than Oracle's own business-management apps.
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Oracle, already one of the most acquisitive companies in the tech industry, said Thursday it's buying cloud-app pioneer NetSuite for about $9.3 billion in cash. That will give Oracle an inroad to smaller customers wanting a single system to handle finance, HR, e-commerce and other business management tasks.

Oracle has been an aggressive buyer since 2005, when it bought PeopleSoft for $10.4 billion in a hostile takeover. Since then, it's acquired at least 100 companies, including Sun Microsystem. NetSuite is one of its largest purchases.

The two companies have been connected indirectly since 1998, when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison funded what would become the first web-based application for business, then called NetLedger. Ellison and his family are now NetSuite's largest shareholders, with almost 40 percent of NetSuite stock, according to NetSuite's most recent proxy statement.

Oracle was late to cloud computing as the database giant tried to protect its profitable software licensing business. Unfortunately for Oracle, it stuck to the software licensing model long after cloud computing had become standard. With NetSuite, Oracle can fill in a few gaps in the application side of its business. Oracle also sells products to store information and operate systems in the cloud.

The deal is expected to close this year, but only if it gets the approval of the majority shares that Ellison doesn't own, Oracle said.

Justin Yu contributed to this report.