Oracle steps back into M&A market

Contact: Brenon Daly

After taking the summer off from M&A, Oracle on Monday announced the acquisition of authentication management startup Passlogix. The purchase is the first one by the normally acquisitive Oracle since it announced a pair of asset pickups in late May. Sitting out the summer slowed Oracle’s pace from steady deal flow earlier this year as well as other years. The Passlogix buy is Oracle’s eighth deal in 2010.

The first seven purchases, however, came in the first five months of 2010. That was ahead of the M&A pace Oracle held from 2005-2008, when it inked an average of a deal a month in each of the years. Oracle announced just eight acquisitions in recession-wracked 2009, when overall M&A activity was muted.

As we noted in our report on Q3 M&A, Oracle was one of the highly visible companies that didn’t announce a single transaction in the July-September period. Similarly, both Microsoft and Symantec sat out the quarter, too. But their inactivity was more than made up for by fellow tech giants Hewlett-Packard and IBM. That duo went on an M&A safari in the third quarter, with an eye toward bagging big game. In the just-completed July-September period, IBM and HP combined to announce 11 deals with a total bill of more than $7.3bn.