Oracle Snaps Sun Microsystems For $7.4 billion

Database giant Oracle Corporation has agreed to purchase Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion or roughly $9.50 per share.

The sum represents a 14 percent premium on the $6.5 billion offer that IBM reportedly put on the table for the MYSQL-to-Sparc company back in March 2009, a deal that ultimately fell through for unknown reasons.

Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems will allow it to make significant inroads in telecommunications market, government systems and data storage although there are many questions hanging as to Oracle's ability to digest a company with so many diverse interests.

The purchase turns Oracle from a software player into a global services player capable of rivalling the likes of IBM or HP. Already, commentators like Bryan Glick, of Computing, are saying that IBM's inaction could cost it more than the $900 million it hesitated to add add to the initial deal.

The $9.50 represented a 42 percent premium on Sun's closing stock price of Friday but the acquisition has caused Oracle's stock to slump by 5.5 percent, wiping $5 billion since trading begun on NASDAQ.

Oracle has never been shy of acquiring huge tech companies in the past few years although it always refrained from going far from its core business - database and business applications.

Interestingly, Sun Microsystems is not the company's biggest acquisition. BEA Systems ($8.5 billion) and Peoplesoft ($10.3 billion) have been far more costlier but helped drive the company's growth in the long term.

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Our Comments

It is still early hours and the news of the acquisition has yet to sink in. Oracle buying Sun is big news, possibly the biggest since the year started. It might not mean much for consumer buyers, but the fact that so many brand names like MYSQL, Sparc, Java or Staroffice are moving house is likely to have an impact even on smaller companies and startups.

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