Despite Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s well known voracious appetite for acquisitions and $31 billion in cash, he says not to expect any more big buys in the near future.
For a company that’s spent an estimated $45 billion on companies ranging from PeopleSoft (in 2004 for $10.3 billion) and Sun Microsystems (in 2009 for $7.4 billion) to more recent buys of Taleo (this year for $1.9 billion) and SelectMinds, (deal still pending, terms not disclosed) that non-news is kind of newsy. (Here’s Oracle’s pretty impressive official list of “strategic” acquisitions.) Oracle has also made a raft of smaller acquisitons like Vitrue to bolster it’s social networking expertise.
Speaking to CNBC Tuesday night, Ellison waved off a potential acquisition of NetApp, telling Maria Bartiromo — who came out to Oracle OpenWorld to do the honors — that he now wants to focus on organic growth, cloud computing and engineered systems — the “Exa” boxes that will form the basis of Oracle’s cloud. He did not, however, rule out more big spending in a few year’s time.
Here’s the thing: many people take what Ellison says with a grain of salt — but he’s also been known to follow up — ruthlessly on some promises. At Oracle OpenWorld a few years back he warned erstwhile big partners like Veritas to “get off his lawn” and clearly signaled his intent to compete with them with Oracle’s own offerings. In that case, he was true to his word.
As for this statement, stay tuned. If rival SAP continue it’s targeted buying binge – a la SuccessFactors – I think Ellison could change course pretty quickly. However Ellison has now picked a pretty big fight with Amazon in public cloud infrastructure so he’d better stick to his knitting in cloud.