An Oracle Takeover of HP? Maybe in Ellison’s Dreams.
As entertaining as it might be to watch Oracle take a run at Hewlett-Packard, that’s a high drama that we’re not likely to ever see played out. The battle pitting Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and former HP CEO Mark Hurd against HP CEO and former SAP boss Léo Apotheker and former Oracle COO Ray Lane will continue to be fought where it has always been fought — in the marketplace and the courtroom.
At least that’s Wells Fargo analyst Jayson Maynard’s take on market rumors that suggest HP, in its current state of turmoil, is ripe for a hostile bid from its old rival.
“In our view, the likelihood of an HP acquisition in the near term is extremely low,” Maynard told clients in a research note. “We think there are other potential options that are more strategic, have less complexity, and smaller price tags. We made the comment a few weeks ago that we think Oracle looks at all possibilities, and as a result to never say ‘never’ given HP’s tumultuous situation and plan to break itself up into a smaller firm. That said, we think it will take HP at least a year or so to spin off or sell the PC business and deal with those implications. So even though Oracle could financially make a large move, we think the probability is remote.”
I’d say so, though the scenario becomes quite a bit more plausible if/when HP finally splits off its Personal Systems Group. While HP’s enterprise business would certainly give Oracle another hammer with which to smite IBM, the acrimony between the two companies would almost certainly make negotiations difficult. Then there’s the issue of what to do with HP’s printer business. And, of course, HP would be an expensive buy, even for Oracle.