Siebel Shareholders To Vote On Oracle Deal Next Month

The special meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Pacific time at a San Mateo, Calif., hotel near Siebel's headquarters. The proposed $5.85 billion deal has already been approved by regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe.

Oracle, located just up the road in Redwood Shores, Calif., announced its plan to buy Siebel in September. With the move, Oracle signaled its intention to keep expanding its business applications market share to bolster its flagship database business.

Siebel Systems, founded by Oracle alumnus Tom Siebel, was the high-flying leader of the customer relationship management (CRM) segment until the company was deflated when the dot-com bubble burst. It has since seen its market share under fire by less-pricey software.

A Siebel deal had been widely rumored for some time, but many thought Oracle already had its hands full integrating the huge PeopleSoft acquisition it engineered two years before. Oracle paid in excess of $10 billion for PeopleSoft as well as J.D. Edwards, which PeopleSoft acquired in the interim.

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In between the PeopleSoft and Siebel deals, Oracle also found the time and money to buy Oblix, Retek, OctetString and Thor Technologies. The goal of these smaller acquisitions was to boost Oracle's identity management, retail software and provisioning capabilities.

Though Oracle has led the league in database sales for some time, that business is under pressure from Microsoft and IBM.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said the industry will consolidate around a few key players in business applications, and he clearly aims to position Oracle to be one of the winners. With PeopleSoft, Oracle bought a lead in human-resources management software, and with Siebel Oracle bought a legacy installed base of CRM customers.

In business applications, Oracle is waging war with market leader SAP. Microsoft is also attacking business apps with its newly renamed Dynamics ERP suite.

While Microsoft typically targets smaller companies with its wares, most industry observers expect the Redmond, Wash., software giant to attack larger enterprises as well, even as Oracle and SAP try to move down into smaller businesses from their enterprise bases. Microsoft also hopes to gain more credibility in CRM with its recently shipping Dynamics CRM 3.0.