Oracle Buys Agile

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Oracle Corp. plans to pay US$495 million to buy Agile Software Corp., a maker of product lifecycle management software.

Oracle said Tuesday that it will pay $8.10 per share in cash for all shares of Agile. Agile stock on Nasdaq (AGIL) closed Tuesday at $7.08. The acquisition is expected to close in July.

Product lifecycle management (PLM) software is designed to streamline the design, engineering, production, distribution and support of a product.

Agile will serve as the foundation of an Oracle PLM offering, said Charles Phillips, president of Oracle, in a prepared statement.

The Agile deal is only the latest in a long string of software acquisitions Oracle has made in the past few years. The company has bought large vendors, such as PeopleSoft and JD Edwards, to increase its scale and its customer base. It has also acquired smaller companies that provide it with expertise in vertical markets, such as retail, or in specific technology areas, such as in-memory databases and identity management.

The Agile acquisition appears to fit into that latter category, providing PLM technology that can be used in a range of industries, including manufacturing, consumer goods, IT and life sciences.

Phillips said the Agile acquisition furthers Oracle's strategy of offering a full range of enterprise software applications. In a dig at rival SAP AG, Phillips said the acquisition "allows us to offer yet another strategic application to SAP customers."

Acquisitions have helped Oracle grow its share of the applications market against SAP and increase its economies of scale, CEO Larry Ellison has said. But they have also presented the company with the challenge of integrating products, employees and business cultures into its fold.

SAP has tended to follow a different strategy, growing its business organically and making only strategic acquisitions that provide it with technology it cannot develop quickly itself. It has announced three acquisitions in the last two weeks, an unusually busy period for SAP. They were MaXware, which develops identity management software; Wicom Communications, which develops IP-based call center software, and OutlookSoft Corp., which makes performance management software aimed at CFOs.

James Niccolai in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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