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What's Next on Oracle's Hit List?

So, fresh from winning a war of attrition to acquire PeopleSoft Inc. (Nasdaq: PSFT), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) is flexing its M&A muscles once again (see Oracle Shares PeopleSoft Plans and Oracle & PeopleSoft: Still Work to Do).

Last night, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm made a cash offer for software vendor Retek Inc. Nothing strange about this, you might think. Large firms make bids for smaller companies all the time. But there is some added spice to this one: Last week, Reteks board accepted an offer from Oracle’s archrival SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP). (See SAP Acquires Retek.)

The cut and thrust of the controversial PeopleSoft acquisition proved Oracle supremo Larry Ellison’s steely resolve when it comes to getting what he wants, and a similar pattern seems to be emerging here.

Oracle has increased the heat on SAP by bidding $9.00 per share for Retek, compared to the German giant’s $8.50 offer. Oracle also purchased 10 percent of Retek’s common stock earlier this week, perhaps to pour oil on the flames.

So, if Larry Ellison is hell-bent on world domination, what are likely to be the next targets? Sheryl Kingstone, program director of analyst firm The Yankee Group, believes it would make sense for Oracle to go after niche players in other lucrative industry sectors. “If they are interested in Retek, the next step is other verticals such as telecom and financial services,” she says.

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