The Cloud

Oracle Buys NetSuite to Expand Cloud Presence

While Oracle aims to be the "biggest company in the cloud," cloud software as a service accounts for just 6.5% of its revenue.
Matthew HellerJuly 28, 2016

Oracle said Thursday it had agreed to acquire cloud pioneer NetSuite for about $9.3 billion as it continues to aggressively expand its cloud-based business software offerings.

The deal values NetSuite at $109 per share, a 19% premium to its Tuesday closing price but below the stock’s all-time closing high of $115.57 in February 2014. Oracle founder Larry Ellison and his family hold nearly 40% of NetSuite’s shares, while NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson ran Oracle’s marketing operations in the 1990s.

“Oracle and NetSuite cloud applications are complementary, and will coexist in the marketplace forever,” Mark Hurd, Oracle’s co-chief executive, said in a news release. “We intend to invest heavily in both products — engineering and distribution.”

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Oracle’s stated mission is to be “the biggest company in the cloud.” But according to Forbes, cloud software still represents a fraction of its overall business, with cloud software as a service accounting for just 6.5% of revenue in the fourth quarter.

“Ellison’s major investment in the company has long fueled speculation that the companies would unite at some point; NetSuite and its investor apparently decided that the company’s future as an independent entity would no longer grow faster than if part of the massive Oracle operation,” Forbes said.

NetSuite, which was founded in 1998, is arguably the first “cloud” company, offering customers financial and resource planning software through a subscription model. Like rivals such as SAP SE, Amazon, and Microsoft, Oracle has been moving toward the cloud-computing model as sales of traditional software licenses struggle.

“The deal could also help Oracle … play catch up with competitors such as Workday and that specialize in cloud-based offerings,” Reuters said.

Nelson said NetSuite would “benefit from Oracle’s global scale and reach to accelerate the availability of our cloud solutions in more industries and more countries. We are excited to join Oracle and accelerate our pace of innovation.”

Neither company addressed Ellison’s position on both sides of a deal but The Wall Street Journal said it “raises questions about potential conflicts of interest.”