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BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

Oracle's Gauntlet

4:15 PM -- Having already transformed itself into one of the OSS sector's leading players with a series of acquisitions, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) really put its money where its mouth is today by offering $6.66 billion in cash for middleware and service delivery platform (SDP) giant BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS). (See Oracle Bids for BEA, Oracle Buys Another OSS Firm, and BEA Leads NXTcomm's SDP Charge.)

Oracle is offering $17.00 per BEA share, a bid the BEA board almost immediately rejected as too low.

Investors clearly believe a higher bid will emerge, as BEA's share price shot up by $5.01, 37 percent, to $18.63, a full $1.63 higher than Oracle's offer.

So a bidding war is clearly anticipated, with HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) already identified as potential participants. Maybe SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) will come out of the shadows and show its face. (See SAP's Rising in OSS.)

Oracle's stock initially rose this morning after news of its bid, but BEA's response and share price leap left Oracle's share price at $22.38, down by a few pennies from Thursday's close.

This looks like one that could run and run.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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