Oracle Denies Report of $70 Billion in Planned Acquisitions

Oracle is distancing itself from comments reportedly made by its co-president, Charles Phillips, about the amount of money it intends to spend on future acquisitions.

Oracle on Friday strongly downplayed comments made by co-President Charles Phillips at a conference on Thursday, saying that contrary to Phillips' suggestion, it is "highly unlikely" that it will spend roughly US$70 billion buying up companies during the next five years.

However, "we will be opportunistic and, if market conditions warrant, we will buy additional companies that further our strategic goals and address our customers' needs," spokeswoman Karen Tillman said in a statement.

Oracle's statement followed a Fortune.com report on Thursday about an appearance Phillips made at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado.

A video clip Fortune.com posted after Oracle issued the statement shows that Phillips indeed suggested such a scenario.

"If you look forward for the next five years, we'll probably double what we've spent on acquisitions in the last five years," Phillips said.

The statement prompted interviewer Adam Lashinsky to ask Phillips to repeat his prediction. Phillips did so, adding that Oracle had spent about $35 billion on acquisitions during the past five years.

"You're going to spend $70 billion -- I'm slow on this sort of thing -- in the next five years, in acquisitions?" a surprised-sounding Lashinsky said.

"If things hold up, we could easily do that," Phillips said.

Earlier in the clip, Phillips described the types of opportunities Oracle will pursue.

"There's a lot of companies in the vertical market, that no one's ever heard of, that would be nice for us to have," he said.

"We've haven't got much into hardware, we've only made one acquisition there [of Sun Microsystems]," Phillips added.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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