Oracle-Sun: a system on the cheap

Contact: Brenon Daly

Oracle’s big step into the hardware market comes at a relatively small price. In buying Sun Microsystems, Oracle is paying just one-tenth the valuation that it paid in its other multibillion-dollar acquisitions. The difference: the other purchases added software vendors with increasing sales and solid profitability, while Sun provides neither of those. Sun revenue is likely to slip about 10% in the current fiscal year, which ends in June, and the company has lost money in three of the past four quarters.

Still, the valuation drop-off is striking. Sun had generated some $13.3bn in trailing 12-month (TTM) revenue. Based on an offer that gives Sun an enterprise value (EV) of $5.6bn, Oracle is paying just 0.42x Sun’s TTM sales. In the four other acquisitions worth more than $1bn that Oracle has inked, the company has paid between 3.7x EV/TTM (Hyperion Solutions) and 5.2x EV/TTM sales (BEA Systems.)

Oracle’s multibillion-dollar deals

Date Target Equity value EV/TTM sales
December 2004 PeopleSoft $10.46bn 3.9x
January 2008 BEA Systems $8.5bn 5.2x
April 2009 Sun Microsystems $7.4bn 0.46x
September 2005 Siebel Systems $5.85bn 4x
March 2007 Hyperion Solutions $3.3bn 3.7x

Source: The 451 M&A KnowledgeBase