Merger Minuet

By Joshua Weinberger Print this article Print

Going fishing for possible acquisitions? Start with these whoppers.

PDF Download As reports of earnings (or lack thereof) pour out of technology suppliers (see "Software Suppliers At a Loss"), merger talk inevitably splashes around. Only a handful of the biggest fish—IBM, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and perhaps PeopleSoft—are likely to have the resources, flexibility or willingness to swallow up anybody these days. Herewith, soundings culled from industry executives and analysts, in early February.

Oracle BEA Systems Probably not worth the effort. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Oracle "would benefit from buying [BEA], but not much, and that's the problem."
Oracle Siebel & i2 Improbable. In mid-January, Ellison called both "dying companies." And Siebel just announced the creation of a "poison-pill" defense.
IBM MatrixOne Not likely. The two companies already share a marketing partnership. No upside for IBM in buying the firm outright.
IBM Vignette Despite an overlapping customer base, Vignette's recent purchase of Epicentric might complicate matters.
SAP Aspen After realizing some efficiencies, SAP could see a return even if it pays double the supply-chain software company's current market cap.
PeopleSoft Agile Software Insiders note the warm vibes between top executives at the two companies-a merger would be friendly.
Infosys i2 i2 has nearly a half-billion in cash on its books and significant intellectual property. India-based Infosys might pick up i2 in order to make an impact in the States.
Microsoft WebEx Oops. Wrong fish. Redmond is buying rival online conferencer PlaceWare instead. Now WebEx has to wonder if it can continue to go it alone.
Microsoft AOL Not as crazy as it sounds. What's the only outfit that might pay Time Warner a premium for AOL?
IBM Sun Long rumored. But no action to date.
Source: AMR Research, Baseline Research

This article was originally published on 2003-02-01
Assistant Editor
After being on staff at The New Yorker for five years, Josh later traveled the world, hitting all seven continents in a single year. At Yale University, he majored in American Studies, English, and Theatre Studies.

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