Oracle Buys Taleo for $1.9 Billion, Adds Human-Resource Tool

Oracle to Buy Taleo for $46 a Share
The Oracle Corp. campus stands in Redwood City, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Oracle Corp. made its second acquisition in three months, agreeing to buy human-resources software company Taleo Corp. for about $1.9 billion to expand in cloud computing and respond to a December deal by SAP AG.

Holders of Taleo will get $46 a share, Redwood City, California-based Oracle, the second-largest software company, said today in a statement. That’s 18 percent higher than Taleo’s closing share price yesterday.

Taleo gives Oracle tools that help companies manage human resources, recruit employees and set compensation. The deal provides a counterweight to SAP’s planned acquisition of talent-management company SuccessFactors Inc. for $3.4 billion, according to Anurag Rana, a Bloomberg Industries analyst. Taleo and SuccessFactors focus on the fast growing business of delivering software over the Web, rather than installing programs on customers’ computers.

“It’s where the puck is going,” said Rana, a senior software analyst based in Princeton, New Jersey. “That’s the model most software companies will go to over the next several years.”

Oracle rose less than one percent to $28.89 at the close in New York. Taleo, based in Dublin, California, jumped 17 percent to $45.64.

Oracle is using acquisitions to build its cloud business to help blunt the impact of a possible slowdown in software sales growth. Cloud software is meant to appeal to customers seeking to save money by letting them access computing power over the Web.

Buying Spree

Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison has snapped up more than 70 companies in a $40 billion buying spree to add programs that help large corporations manage human resources and operations. In October, Oracle agreed to buy RightNow Technologies Inc. for $1.5 billion.

The Taleo deal may help Oracle avoid losing potential sales to closely held HR software maker Workday Inc., which plans an initial public offering this year. Oracle is also competing in the software-as-a-service market with Inc., Peter Goldmacher, a Cowen & Co. analyst, said in a research note today.

In December, Oracle reported fiscal second-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates as the company had trouble closing deals.

Mark Moerdler, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, said Taleo fits Oracle’s strategy of aggressively moving into the fast-growing cloud-computing market.

“It gives them, as did RightNow, knowledge and expertise DNA in the software-as-a-service market,” said Moerdler, who rates Oracle “market perform.”

Taleo’s technology is used by 5,000 organizations. The acquisition is expected to close mid-year, Oracle said. The acquisition gives Taleo an enterprise value of 4.7 times its estimated sales this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. SAP paid 7.4 times SuccessFactors’ estimated sales.

“Oracle did not overpay for this deal, as is Larry’s habit,” said Bloomberg Industries’s Rana. “He doesn’t overpay for deals.”

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