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Oracle Swallows Siebel

Oracle Corp.'s (Nasdaq: ORCL) M&A tear continues apace, with the software giant stumping up $5.85 billion today for customer relationship management (CRM) specialist Siebel Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SEBL).

But Oracle execs have promised that digesting Siebel will be a lot easier than the 18-month war of attrition the company recently fought to get its hands on PeopleSoft (see Oracle Takes Control of PeopleSoft, Oracle & PeopleSoft: The Final Round and PeopleSoft Plot Thickens).

This is dramatically easier than the PeopleSoft transaction,” said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison during a conference call this morning. The exec pointed out that PeopleSoft had only recently bought J.D Edwards, which made the deal much more complicated. “Siebel isn’t the amalgam of two companies that have just got together.”

Certainly, initial signs are that Oracle is unlikely to face the mud-slinging and boardroom upheaval that characterized the PeopleSoft deal (see Oracle Battles With PeopleSoft and PeopleSoft Suffers Crisis of Confidence). Siebel’s board has already put its weight behind the deal and, additionally, the two firms’ CEOs go back a long way. “Larry and I know each other very well,” said Siebel’s chairman and founder Thomas Siebel, noting that their relationship stretches back over 23 years.

According to the Siebel chairman, discussions about merging the two companies have been “going on for years,” which also suggests that Oracle should be dealing with a much more straightforward acquisition.

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