UPDATE 1-Oracle quarterly revenue tops estimates on strong cloud demand

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March 12 (Reuters) - Business software maker Oracle Corp on Thursday reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as more companies opt for its cloud services and software, sending its shares up 3% in extended trading.

Its cloud services and license support unit, which accounts for more than half of its revenue, grew 4% to $6.93 billion in the third quarter.

The company has been trying catch up with rivals in cloud computing that helps companies save cost by renting data centers from companies rather than owning them.

The cloud business has seen a surge as more work shift online, underlining the need to add more centers that cater to the rising demand. Spending on data centers would touch $212 billion in 2021, according to a report by Gartner.

Oracle said last month it had added new data centers in five countries and plans to add 36 locations by the end of the year.

Total revenue rose nearly 2% to $9.8 billion, beating analysts' average estimate of $9.75 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net income fell to $2.57 billion in the third quarter ended Feb. 29, from $2.75 billion. But on a per share basis, it rose to 79 cents per share from 76 cents a year earlier. (Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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