Oracle still in predatory mode, says Henley

Oracle still has its eye on significant acquisitions, according to chairman Jeff Henley, so shareholders won’t be seeing an increase in their dividends anytime soon.

"There are enough opportunities on hand in the merger and acquisition area that it probably doesn't make sense to pay a dividend," Henley told an audience of fund managers attending the annual JP Morgan investment conference here.
"We are far enough into PeopleSoft, (that) I think we could handle a good-size deal. We think the integration is over. We're basically done.”

As well as PeopleSoft, Oracle has this year bought small retail software maker Retek for $US670 million and Oblix a privately held maker of identity management software for an undisclosed amount. The company is also most frequently linked in Wall Street gossip with a possible bid for Siebel.

Henley decined to comment on possible takeover targets. “We have a few things in mind,” he said. “We have the capacity to do some large deals at the right time and at the right price.We could do one now, if the (right deal) came up."

He added that Oracle might reconsider its dividend policy if more shareholders asked for the company to do so. But so far, it has received little pressure from shareholders on this front, he said. “It doesn't make sense for us right now." he said, but added: "At some point in time, we'll probably pay a dividend.”

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