Oracle acquires Sun in $7.4B stunner

Larry Ellison has pulled off what IBM couldn't find a way to get done, as software giant Oracle this morning announced it is acquiring Sun for $7.4 billion.

The offer of $9.50 per share, already unanimously approved by the Sun board of directors, represents a 42 percent premium over the $6.69 that was Sun's closing price last Friday.

From the Oracle press release:

"The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "Oracle will be the only company that can engineer an integrated system - applications to disk - where all the pieces fit and work together so customers do not have to do it themselves. Our customers benefit as their systems integration costs go down while system performance, reliability and security go up."

Within minutes of the news breaking speculation was underway regarding the fate of Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Schwartz was nothing but happy-face in the press release:

"This is a fantastic day for Sun's customers, developers, partners and employees across the globe, joining forces with the global leader in enterprise software to drive innovation and value across every aspect of the technology marketplace," said Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's CEO, "From the Java platform touching nearly every business system on earth, powering billions of consumers on mobile handsets and consumer electronics, to the convergence of storage, networking and computing driven by the Solaris operating system and Sun's SPARC and x64 systems. Together with Oracle, we'll drive the innovation pipeline to create compelling value to our customer base and the marketplace."

The deal is expected to close this summer.

(Update: Couple of reactions: 

DBMS2 author and Network World blogger Curt Monash asks in a post headlined: Should the Oracle/MySQL combo face antitrust opposition? …His bottom line: "I may well be overlooking something, but I haven’t founda compelling antitrust trigger on my first pass over the subject." 

Om Malik at GigaOM sees the deal as a coupe for Oracle: "I thought Cisco should buy Sun, and sodid 66 percent of 1120 of our readers who took part in an online poll. At thatprice, looks like Oracle found itself yet another bargain and in one wide sweepbecame a worthy competitor to IBM. It allowsOracle to become a player in the cloud computing business. More importantly,the company ends up acquiring MySQL, the upstart database that has been viewedas Oracle’s achilles heel.")

(Update, 10:10:Wall Street's initial reaction is not good from Oracle's perspective, as its stock price is downalmost 5 percent to just under $18 in early trading. Sun is up $2.40, or 36percent. The Dow itself is down almost 200.)

(Update, 10:17: Ballmer tells Reuters he didn't see that one coming.)

(Update, 11:20: Computerworld'sSharon Machlis worries: Whathappens to MySQL? "In a brief letter about the deal, OraclePresident Charles Phillips talks about the benefit of Oracle owning Java andSolaris, without a word about MySQL. Not the reassurance corporate MySQL usersmight be seeking." ... Same question being raisedon Network World's Microsoft Subnet Blog.)

(Update, 11:42:Burton Group analyst MikeGotta says there's a social-networking component to Oracle's strategy here.Shel Israel flags it for Twittercrowd.)

(Update, 1:50 p.m.:Not everyone was taken by surprise here. InfoWorld blogger Neil McAllister hadit pretty much nailed in a post he wrote April 9: "In fact, Oracle might stand to gain evenmore from Sun's software assets than IBMwould -- so much so that I rank Oracle as the top (perhaps the only) potentialbuyer left for Sun. The shame of it is that if such a deal were to go through,I suspect that in the long run, Oracle's gain would be our loss.") 

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