JBoss expects BEA sale to Oracle

JBoss expects BEA sale to Oracle

Java middleware firm thinks ‘white knight’ rescuer is unlikely

BEA Systems is likely to cave in to Oracle pursuit of the company, according to fellow middleware vendor JBoss.

“I think it’s going to take place,” said Sacha Labourey, general manager in the JBoss business unit of Red Hat. “Obviously, BEA wants to get more money but I don’t think it can withstand the pressure of from investors and [activist investor] Carl Icahn.”

There has been speculation about a “white knight” third-party trumping the Oracle bid. Labourey believes that while there are obvious names to be considered, an actual proposition is not likely to be forthcoming.

“I’m not sure who it would be [but] if HP strikes, it would be a very strong signal [that it has serious intent in enterprise software],” he said, adding that IBM, CA, Sun and VMware are other possibilities. “VMware is the company to observe. I think they have done great and they have huge power.”

Labourey believes that in the short-term at least, the Oracle-BEA putative deal can be positive for JBoss.

“We’re accelerating the migration programme to move BEA customers to JBoss because the opportunity is amazing,” he said. “The [BEA] roadmap is going to be unknown. Also, many [BEA customers] already have Oracle at the back end and I’m not sure they want to be even more entrenched. In the mid- to long-term I can’t guess [what effect an Oracle-BEA deal could have] because it depends on how they execute. They could be in a strong position.”

Separately, Labourey said an ongoing reorganisation at Red Hat will make it easier for JBoss to operate and for Red Hat to make acquisitions.

In a blog entry, former JBoss chief executive Marc Fleury was characteristically outspoken on the likely affects of an Oracle-BEA combination.

“I expect Alfred [Chuang, BEA chief executive] to put a heartfelt final battle into this, he has probably already super-glued his naked chest to the BEA boardroom table. It is going to get nasty and he will be dragged out kicking and screaming. Alfred will mumble something about not wanting to be Larry's power point bitch, or waxing his boat, or some other nonsense. But Larry is going to make sushi of that board and will feed it to the koi fish he has in his compound and cost more per head than Alfred's car... This one is going to be funny to watch. Pass the popcorn please.”