Oracle to buy software firm Retek

/ Source: The Associated Press

Business software maker Oracle Corp. beat out German rival SAP AG in its bid to buy Retek Inc., reaching an agreement to purchase the retail software maker for about $670 million, Oracle said Tuesday.

Redwood Shores-based Oracle said in a news release that its offer of $11.25 per share was accepted and SAP has dropped out of the bidding. There was no immediate comment from SAP.

"Oracle has the largest applications business in North America and we intend to expand that leadership position," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said in a statement. "Combining Oracle with Retek is an important step in that direction, and it strengthens our position in the retail applications market globally."

SAP officials were not immediately available for comment.

SAP thought it had reached a deal to buy Minneapolis-based Retek for $8.50 per share late last month before Oracle topped the offer, starting a bidding war between the two rivals.

"We believe that Oracle's offer is a good deal for Retek stockholders, and all directors in attendance at our board meeting have recommended that it be accepted," said Marty Leestma, president and chief executive of Retek. "We will work with Oracle over the next several weeks to ensure that the integration is not disruptive for our clients and employees."

The gamesmanship pitted the world's two leading makers of business applications software — the computer coding that automates a wide range of administrative tasks. SAP has long been the industry leader, but Oracle closed the gap two months ago by buying PeopleSoft Inc. for $10.3 billion after a heated battle that dragged on for 18 months.

With just $174 million in annual revenue and 525 employees, Retek is a niche player in the industry. Nevertheless, the company holds tremendous appeal for both SAP and Oracle because its 200 customers are retailers — a group that hasn't bought as much business applications software as many other industries.

"Most Retek customers already run Oracle's financial and human resources applications, so Oracle buying Retek is a perfect fit for the retail industry," said Retek customer and Best Buy CIO, Bob Willet.