SAP Watch

Mar 14 2007   2:36PM GMT

Oracle's Hyperion deal: challenges, opportunities and expert predictions


Not surprisingly, the Web has been abuzz with speculation and opinions since Oracle announced its intent to purchase BI firm Hyperion two weeks ago.  The bulk of bloggers and writers seems to argue that SAP needs to up the ante and make a big acquisition of its own. Ventana Research was quick to make that point, suggesting Cognos or Infor as a possible target — or perhaps that SAP would be better off making an offer of its own for Hyperion. Flashbacks of the Retek bidding war, anyone?

One of the more interesting takes on the subject is Roth Capital's stern advise to Hyperion stockholders to shoot down the deal, arguing Oracle is getting "the deal of the century". While $52 per share is well above historic levels over most of the past five years, time will tell if stockholders heed the call.

In the meantime, Dennis Howlett at dubs the whole affair "Hype-erion" and opines that Microsoft is lurking in the wings with a hidden BI gem for midsized markets. While he concedes it probably won't be a category killer, he does make a good point that we shouldn't lose sight of the big picture in all the hoopla. But then again, when isn't that the case?

Tony Lock of the Freeform Analyst Team took a more practical approach. Assuming the deal goes through, Oracle faces a steep challenge beyond mere technical integration. Let's not forget that one of the keys to Hyperion's success is its ability to play nice with a wide range of environments, Lock said. The question is whether Oracle can keep those relationships going while simultaneously being the fierce competitor we've come to know. Or to put it more bluntly: will bringing nice-guy firm Hyperion into the fortified Oracle bunker make a good-sized chunk of the goodwill and business value wither away in the process?

A similar riff can be found in Bloor Research's take on the deal, where the question is whether there will be a mass exodus of qualified sales reps from Hyperion as the deal closes: 

"Mixing an IT salesman with a finance salesman could be a highly potent combination. On the other hand it could be oil and water, and Hyperion could lose a chunk of their salesforce to the likes of Microsoft, Business Objects, and Cognos, who cannot wait to get their hands on their finance-savvy Hyperion salespeople."

Challenges abound for Oracle, and we don't know what SAP has up its sleeve yet. Is it going to take the advice of the pundits and go on a shopping spree of its own, or will it repeat the targeted attack-campaign of the PeopleSoft days and spin gold out of the fear and confusion? Rest assured we'll keep a close watch on this as the deal unfolds!

Matt Danielsson

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