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By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-05-06 Print this article Print

However, since ousting its former CEO, Michael Lawrie, last month and replacing him with Shaheen, Siebel itself has been the subject of acquisition rumors, with some suggesting that it could be a potential takeover target for companies such as Oracle Corp. and SAP AG. Speculation of a buyout is said to have peaked Tuesday when an individual or group traded a block of 14 million Siebel shares.
Siebel addressed the rumors in a filing Thursday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the 8-K filing, Siebel noted that several news stories had "been written concerning potential strategic opportunities for Siebel Systems." It said that, from time to time, the company has "considered a diverse range of strategic opportunities to maximize stockholder value, including but not limited to potential significant acquisitions by us, restructurings of our equity, equity repurchases, strategic alliances, and offers to purchase us." However, Siebel indicated that no deals are being considered at this time. "Potential opportunities have recently been presented to us that continue to be evaluated and discussed in a manner that is consistent with our past practices and the fiduciary duties of our officers and directors, with the goal of determining what the Board of Directors believes is in our stockholders best interests," Siebel said in its SEC filing. "These activities include the involvement of independent directors, outside experts, and independent advisors. Such activities continue to be conducted in the normal course of business and should not be interpreted to suggest that any of these current potential opportunities will or will not be consummated. There are none under current consideration that have progressed to the point at which the full Board of Directors has met to consider them." Meanwhile, during Thursdays meeting with analysts, Siebel executives showed signs of frustration over a barrage of demands for more information on potential deals, the companys cash situation and why Siebel executives refuse to meet one-on-one with investors. More than once, Goldman told questioners Siebels SEC filing "speaks for itself," adding that the company would say no more on the subject at the time. "My role at this point in time is to grab the tiller of this thing and get it back on course," Shaheen said. Asked why if he wanted to instill investor confidence in the company, Shaheen had not purchased any Siebel stock, the CEO replied, "We are not here to discuss my personal portfolio." Shaheen said Siebel is in the drivers seat in the CRM market, with the most users at 3.2 million seats, or more than the next three largest CRM vendors combined. Shaheen says the company is ready to overtake competitors in the hosted CRM space. Click here to read more. But the company needs to reduce organizational complexity, revitalize its partners and alliance programs, and invest more in vertical markets, Shaheen said. "Our shortfall is quite apparent to me—its on the sales side, the revenue generation side," he said. Siebels "sales force on the ground is overly complex," Shaheen said. "We get in our own way." Later, after fielding several recurring questions, Shaheen fired back: "Thats my story and Im sticking to it. Theres no science. Thats our game plan. Its not that scientific; its not even that complex. I know what Im charged to do." He then added: "I hear your frustration. I hear it loud and clear. We believe the opportunity is there. This is an industry thats not stagnant. Were going to make a run for it. The game is still on the field." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about customer relationship management solutions.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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