$21 Per Share! Surely, You Can’t Be Serious. … I Am Serious–and Stop Calling Me Shirley.
Oracle isn’t going to pay $21-per-share for BEA Systems. In fact, it won’t even pay $17.01-per-share for it–a penny more than its original $17-per-share offer. Because even that would be too much.
In a letter to BEA late Tuesday night, Oracle President Charles Phillips rejected, with barely restrained incredulity, BEA’s proposed acquisition price of $21 per share. “We believe that your counterproposal at $21 per share price is an impossibly high price for Oracle or any other potential acquirer,” Phillips wrote. “At $21 per share, the BEA board is asking for an 80% premium to BEA’s stock price before the appearance of activist shareholders who are pushing the BEA board to sell the company. The $21 per share price is a multiple of nearly 11 times BEA’s last 12 months reported maintenance revenues. Nobody would seriously consider paying that kind of multiple for a software company with shrinking new license sales. Furthermore, no other company has come forward to bid for BEA. Our proposal at $17 per share is the only offer. Apparently no other companies think that BEA is worth $17 per share, let alone $21 per share. Accordingly, we repeat our proposal to purchase BEA at $17 per share, a price that we are unwilling to increase. We do not believe BEA is worth more than that and we have an obligation to our own shareholders to exercise price discipline when evaluating acquisition opportunities.”
“Nobody would seriously consider paying that kind of multiple.” Suffice to say, that little barb did not go over well at BEA, which rejected Oracle’s $6.7 billion takeover offer a third time this morning. “As fiduciaries, our board cannot endorse a proposal that it has concluded significantly undervalues BEA,” William Klein, BEA’s vice president of business planning and development, said in a letter to Phillips. “We therefore assume that your proposal will expire on Oct. 28.”