As Hewlett-Packard struggles yet again to find the right leadership, it is vulnerable to a possible acquisition attempt.
With a market capitalization of around $95 billion, HPQ is a large pill to swallow but it is swallowable.
Who could be a potential acquirer?
Oracle [NYSE: ORCL - market cap $116 billion ] would fit the bill nicely. The potential consolidation opportunities with Oracle's Sun acquisition are tremendous. Plus, HP would be able to beef up its services group and its troubled middleware and software businesses.
Oracle would in one fell swoop would become IBM's largest and ablest competitor, able to match Big Blue mano a mano across every one of IBM's business groups. West Coast versus East Coast tech...It's a rare opportunity.
A leaderless HP makes a perfect acquisition target
Yes, IBM would cry "anti-trust" but Oracle knows how to deal with anti-trust lawsuits: it rolled up a huge swath of the enterprise software market -- and now enterprise hardware would make a perfect side dish.
Imagine taking the server appliance concept further: the data center as an appliance. The cloud as an appliance. Just plug it in and all the apps you need are perfectly load balanced and scalable...
Stephen Jannise, ERP market analyst at Software Advice, has put together a poll asking who's next on Oracle's M&A list. He has a pretty good selection of companies but HPQ isn't on it. [Please see: Oracle Mergers & Acquisitions: Who's Next?]
Larry Ellison is a big fan of Mark Hurd, the ousted HP CEO. He could bring him back to help with the HP/Sun/Oracle integration.
Is the deal too bold for Larry Ellison? That's for him to answer.
If it happens it won't be pretty. Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost in Silicon Valley, making an already devastated jobs market worse.
But consolidation is inevitable within maturing industries. Cosnolidation will happen sooner or later. Oracle has an opportunity to make it happen sooner, imho.