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BEA Systems Seeks $21 Per Share Takeover Bid

Reuters
Monday, 29 Oct 2007 | 3:35 PM ET

Software maker BEA Systems' board said on Monday it is holding out for a $21 per share takeover offer, a day after its larger rival Oracle withdrew its $17 per share offer.

BEA Systems shares on Monday gained 14 cents, trading at $16.64 on the Nasdaq.

BEA reiterated its position after its biggest shareholder, Carl Icahn, called for it to be put up for auction in a letter to the board that he released to the public late Friday.

"We are prepared to authorize negotiations to sell the company at a price of $21 per share," the board said in a letter to Icahn. The letter was disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

BEA shares rose 14 cents to $16.64 on the New York Stock Exchange, still below Oracle's $17 bid, which is worth about $6.7 billion. The starting price that BEA is demanding is equivalent to about $8.2 billion.

Although Oracle withdrew its bid, it did not definitively rule out returning with another $17 offer.

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

Icahn threatened to sue the board and said he might launch a proxy fight for control of the company.

Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, said late Sunday he's betting Oracle will be back, because BEA has technology that the bigger software maker can use.

"It's like buying a car that you want. Sometimes you have to walk away. But you come back," Chowdhry said.

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