Lawson Eyes Oracle Circus

In the testimony in Oracle's (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) antitrust trial, CEO Larry Ellison rattled off well-known names he targeted for acquisitions, such as BEA Systems (Nasdaq: BEAS  ) , Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ  ) , and Siebel (Nasdaq: SEBL  ) .

He also mentioned another company in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) space: Lawson (Nasdaq: LWSN  ) . Huh? Well, this is certainly not a megacompany like the others Ellison mentioned. Although Lawson was founded in 1975, the same year Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) .

Then again, Lawson focuses on small to midsize business for its software. In all, the company has more than 2,200 customers and provides solutions for a myriad of industries, including the health-care, retail banking, insurance, and government sectors.

There is a good reason why Ellison is interested in Lawson. Simply put, the company has continued to execute in a challenging IT market. Management has cut costs, improved its product line, and increased its customer count.

Last week, Lawson reported its quarterly results. Revenues increased 10% to $99.7 million. The company generated net income of $3.5 million, which was up from $2.2 million in the year-ago quarter. During the quarter, the company signed six software-licensing deals in excess of $1 million each.

On the conference call, though, management expressed some concern about the noise from the Oracle trial. Apparently, on customer calls, Lawson is getting a lot of questions about the trial, and this may result in reduced business for the company.

But the trial should end soon, and so should the buzz. And, who knows, if Ellison is rebuffed in court, maybe he'll take another look on his buyout list and take a try at Lawson.

Fool contributor Tom Taulli is the author ofThe EDGAR Online Guide to Decoding Financial Statements. He does not own shares in any of the stocks mentioned.


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