Merger Mania

By Scot Petersen  |  Posted 2003-12-22 Print this article Print

—Its Back"> Merger Mania—Its Back

You have to hand it to Larry Ellison. Just when things seemed to be getting a little complacent, the Oracle Corp. CEO decided to make a $5.1 billion hostile takeover of competitor PeopleSoft Inc. on June 2, just days after PeopleSoft itself acquired J.D. Edwards & Co. for $1.7 billion.

As the offer sent shock waves through the industry, PeopleSoft and its CEO, Craig Conway, held firm. PeopleSoft closed on its JDE deal in late July, while Oracle upped its offer to $7.3 billion and extended the tender to Dec. 31.

But the Oracle-PeopleSoft nonmerger did little to slow a busy year of mergers and acquisitions. Two of the busiest companies spending the cash in 2003 were EMC Corp. and Novell Inc.

EMC bought backup software vendor Legato Systems Inc. on July 8 and continued its software drive in October by acquiring content management vendor Documentum Inc. for $1.7 billion. Just last week, EMC completed its buying spree with VMware Inc. for $650 million.

Novell, meanwhile, refashioned itself into a Linux company, buying Boston-based developer Ximian Inc. Aug. 11 and desktop maker SuSE Linux AG in November.

In March, networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. bought Linksys Inc., marking Ciscos first foray into consumer and home networking. In June, Palm Inc. (now PalmOne Inc.) acquired Handspring Inc. In July, Business Objects S.A. acquired Crystal Decisions Inc., while in October, Hyperion Solutions Corp. completed its acquisition of Brio Software Inc., also announced in July.

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