Oracle's BEA bid turns unfriendly

Oracle's BEA bid turns unfriendly

Oracle responded to statements from BEA today, saying it has offered to agree to a friendly takeover process.

Oracle's bid for BEA Systems appears to be getting ugly with the latest statement from Oracle.

Late last week, Oracle released a letter addressed to BEA's board in which Oracle President Charles Phillips says he asked BEA Vice President Bill Klein early in the day if there was any process BEA would like to follow to move toward a friendly transaction. Klein responded that the company didn't have another process in mind, according to Phillips.

That exchange followed BEA's cancellation of a meeting designed to work through an agreement that would be complete before the opening of business this week, Oracle said.

"We are available to proceed immediately with a process that would lead to a friendly transaction," Phillips wrote.

Oracle had previously announced that it had offered US$17 per share in cash for BEA. In response, BEA said the offer was inadequate, characterizing it as unsolicited.

The situation is reminiscent of Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft, which resulted in a lengthy takeover battle.

If BEA did indeed have a change of heart about an offer from Oracle, it's probably for good reason, said Ray Wang, a Forrester analyst. "BEA probably thinks it has other options," he said. He's hearing speculation that BEA has another bid on the table or that it is considering other arrangements, such as taking itself private in order to stay independent, he said.

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