Oracle wins Retek bidding war

Biggest apps vendor just got bigger...

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Larry Ellison's Oracle has fought off bitter competition from SAP to buy retail software specialist Retek for $630m.

Earlier this month SAP offered $8.50 a share for Retek but Oracle made a counter offer of $9 a share. SAP increased its offer to $11 a share - an offer Retek's board recomended shareholders accept. Oracle then offered $11.25 and, shortly after midnight Tuesday, said SAP had dropped out of the auction.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's CEO, said: "Oracle has the largest applications business in North America, and we intend to expand that leadership position."

Marty Lesstma, president and chief exec of Retek, said: "We believe that Oracle's offer is a good deal for Retek stockholders, and all directors in attendance at our board meeting have recommended that it be accepted."

Gartner analysts say the deal is good news for Oracle's retail customers because it will give them access to a single vendor for all their retail apps. The analysts say Retek customers are also better off in the short-term because if SAP had won the bidding war it would likely migrate people to its own products more quickly - Oracle will give customers until 2008.

But Gartner adds that in the longer-term Retek customers would have been better off if SAP had won because Oracle has had limited success with vertical applications. Gartner also warned Oracle customers to expect delays to the Fusion project to bring Oracle's apps together with those of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and, now, Retek.

Retek was founded in 1986 and provides supply chain and merchandise planning software. It turned over $168m in 2003 and employs 550 people. Almost 80 per cent of Retek's customers run their apps on an Oracle platform.

Oracle press release available here.®

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