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Rumor: Is Oracle planning a takeover of HP?

oracle By Peter Kaminski via FlickrHewlett-Packard’s 20-percent nose-dive in stock price last week has stirred up rumors that Oracle may be considering moving in.

The rumors seem to stem from a New York Post article published over the weekend. The Post says HP’s 10 billion dollar decision to buy UK software company Autonomy “puts the world’s largest tech company in a vulnerable position and may make it an Oracle takeover target”.

An unnamed source told the Post Oracle’s move would be inevitable if the stock continues its decent, and that Larry Ellison and former HP CEO Mark Hurd are “ready to pounce”. The source pointed out that if HP’s success in spinning its PC business would make Oracle’s takeover all the more easier. After moving in, Oracle would sell of the profitable HP printer business.

“Perhaps in three years [the Autonomy acquisition] will turn out to be a smart acquisition. But the reality is in nine months HP will likely be defending itself in an Oracle fight,” the source said.

Though it may just be speculation rather than insider knowledge, Wells Fargo analyst Jayson Maynard told Forbes that the deal could be a possibility.

Maynard said that the takeover would make sense given HP’s enterprise business, “it would add significant account coverage, server and storage hardware depth, unique software assets (Mercury, Open View, Opsware etc.), a better competitive position against IBM, and call options in product areas like networking and IT services.”

However Maynard believes that if the deal were to take place it would take longer than the Post’s source says. Given the animosity between HP and Oracle, it would most likely be a lengthy hostile takeover.

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Jeff Hughes
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