Oracle To Pay £5bn For Sun Microsystems

The terms of the deal represent significantly more money than the £4.5 billion cash offer that IBM reported had put on the table for Sun last month

Oracle has announced that it will purchase Sun Microsystems in a deal worth $7.4 billion (£5.1bn), or $9.50 a share.

The offer, made today, comes weeks after a reported deal between IBM and Sun Microsystems, for $6.5 billion (£4.5bn), collapsed. The acquisition would have allowed IBM to seize significant market share in the enterprise server hardware and software arena, as well as make inroads into the data storage, government systems and telecommunications markets.

Oracle’s $9.50 share was a 42 percent premium over Sun’s 17 April closing stock price, according to Reuters.

According to the companies, Sun’s board of directors unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close at some unannounced time this summer.

The deal would represent Oracle’s largest acquisition by far in 2009. Despite the weak economy, the enterprise-software company has already purchased a number of smaller companies, including mValent, a group that produces configuration management solutions, and Relsys International, which develops drug safety and risk management solutions.

“The acquisition of Sun transforms the IT industry, combining best-in-class enterprise software and mission-critical computing systems,” Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “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.”

In an accompanying statement, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz suggested that the newly merged company would “drive the innovation pipeline.”

With the closing of an Oracle-Sun deal, one of the largest questions will be how such an acquisition will change the landscape for other major players, including IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

With the deal, Oracle now owns Java and Solaris, both of which are already incorporated into Oracle products – Java language and software forms the foundation for Oracle Fusion Middleware, while the Sun Solaris operating system is the leading platform for the Oracle database, according to the company.

“Oracle is as committed as ever to Linux and other open platforms and will continue to support and enhance our strong industry partnerships,” the company said in a statement.