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Oracle Withdraws Bid for BEA as Deadline Expires

Oracle withdrew its $6.7 billion bid for business software maker BEA Systems on Sunday, setting the stage for a proxy battle between activist investor Carl Icahn and the BEA board.

The world's third-largest software maker pulled its $17-per-share bid after its deadline of 5 p.m. California time on Sunday lapsed, with no signs that BEA had budged from its view that it was worth $21 a share, or $8.2 billion in total.

"The BEA shareholders should not assume that Oracle will renew its $17 per share offer in the future," Oracle said in a statement.

"Over time many things can change: BEA's business might materially weaken, the stock market can fall further from its recent record highs, or Oracle may have committed its capital elsewhere.

Icahn, who owns 15 percent of BEA and is its biggest shareholder, threatened on Friday to launch a proxy battle for control of the company if its board did not let shareholders decide BEA's fate. He said shareholders should be allowed to vote on Oracle's offer if it turned out to be the best bid.

Analysts have suggested that Hewlett-Packard, International Business Machines and SAP may want BEA, but no offers have been announced so far.

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