Red Hat just announced its intent to acquire JBoss for $350 million. Marc Fleury, CEO of JBoss, spoke with eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft on March 30 after word that a potential deal with Oracle had fallen through. Though Fleury would not address the Oracle situation directly, he spoke candidly about what he wanted for JBoss. And with the Red Hat deal it seems he got it.
What can you tell me about the future of JBoss?
What I can tell you is that No. 1 I am firmly here and committed to the future of JBoss and that the future is going to be bright and consistent with what weve done so far. There are many options in front of JBoss. There always were. And so far Ive been lucky enough to pick the option that maximizes the professional open-source potential, and grows the company and furthers our goals in our mission statement, which is to transform the way software is developed, distributed and supported. And whatever option is in front of us, if we choose it, it will be because we strongly feel that thats the way to continue with our mission.
So is it true that JBoss has been in play?
I personally have not tried to sell the company. The allegation that JBoss has had a "For Sale" sign on it is just false. Weve been approached. Were always evaluating these options. Did we ever go out and tell somebody we wanted to sell? Never! And if anybody did they were not speaking for me.
Is there a magic number at which you would sell?
Look at Red Hats numbers and apply that [formula] to our numbers and youll have a valuation. And very soon were going to be too expensive for anybody. There is no magic number. The valuation is important, but its just how the game is played.
OK, so let me be clear, I wont be hearing in the next week or so that JBoss has been sold?
[Laughter.] Well, what is today? No, JBoss will not be sold within the next week. [More laughter.]
OK, so what is the status of any acquisition or merger?
Im not going to directly comment on rumors. But what is surprising this time is that JBoss is always approached by partners. There have been rumors around that CA was going to buy us, that Sonic was going to buy us, or TIBCO or Microsoft. And this time around the rumors got a little bit out of hand. The status of the rumor itself is that its still alive, still producing some interesting nonsense. For example, I heard that I was supposed to appear on TV with Larry Ellison. It was news to me. It was funny to read this as an outsider almost. There was just outrageous stuff.
So that has calmed down. Thank God.
But there are always partners who approach us. That is normal. I dont know why people are so surprised by what they hear. But you can send an e-mail to MarcFleury@Oracle.com and see what happens. And it will bounce. So there it is.
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So are you denying that you were in talks with Oracle?
I am just not talking about the rumors, very frankly. What I am saying is it is normal for a startup to be approached a lot. That said, Im not saying anything specific about one partner or another.