Oracle’s BEA Take-under

The good news: Oracle is likely to make another offer for BEA

The bad news: The offer is likely to be less than Oracle’s current offer

There are few things more embarrassing for companies than getting caught in negative takeover bidding. it works like this: Say, someone comes along and makes public offer to buy your company. You say no, hoping for a higher offer, knowing full well that the initial offer has put your company in play.

But sadly, however, no second (or third (or fourth)) offer appears. Now you’re dangling with your ass(et) out in the wind: A company for sale that no-one wants to buy for a price higher than was originally offered.

What happens next is rarely pleasant. Absent a change of heart, or a new offer somehow emerging, the initial acquirer will likely come back and make another offer — this time, however, for less than was originally offered. Why not? After all, the market just told it that it offered too much, so it might as well offer less.

That is what the future likely holds for BEA. It will almost certainly be bought, but likely at a price under the price Oracle originally offered for the company. Ouch.