Oracle's M&A Machine Strikes Again

With competitors like Dassault Systems (Nasdaq: DASTY  ) , Siemens AG (NYSE: SI  ) , and IBM, its been tough for Agile Software (Nasdaq: AGIL  ) to crank out growth. That will no longer be a problem, though. The company announced yesterday that it's selling out for $495 million, or $8.10 per share, to Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) .

Agile develops product lifecycle management (PLM) software, helping customers design, plan, sell and service products. There are more than 11,000 customers and the company posted $130 million in revenues for the past year.

While Oracle has a broad offering of business applications, the firm has been lacking in the PLM area. The software is not easy to develop and requires integration with a myriad of enterprise systems.

"The opportunity for Oracle is severalfold," David Yockelson, the VP of research operations at the 451 Group, told me in an interview. "This will increase the penetration and set of capabilities in the large manufacturers and bring the capabilities to a larger set of smaller manufacturers." (You can read the full interview on my CAPS blog.)

Another bonus is that a chunk of Agile's business comes from SAP (NYSE: SAP  ) customers. Oracle's deal may be yet another attempt to pester its German rival and grab more market share.

According to a report from AMR, the PLM market is expected to grow at an 11% compounded annual growth rate, reaching $7.3 billion by 2010. That would make it the third-largest segment in business applications. That's the kind of market that can actually move the needle for mighty Oracle.

Over the past couple of years, Oracle has demonstrated that it can quickly integrate and get payback on its deals. I'm assuming that will be the case with the Agile deal. It will also be easier, since the deal is at a reasonable valuation of 2.5 times revenues. That's pretty good, considering Agile has a fully developed product line and is focused on a large market opportunity.

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Fool contributor Tom Taulli, author of The Complete M&A Handbook, does not own shares mentioned in this article. He is currently ranked 1,590 out of 24,619 in CAPS.


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