We want to stand alone: BEA

Software provider BEA Systems said it had "no control" over whether any hostile takeover offer was made, following an indication from Oracle that the company was one of its take-over candidates.In a media briefing today, vice-president of corporate communications for BEA, Kevin Faulkner, said "there has been a lot talk over the past three years about BEA being a target for acquisition...

Software provider BEA Systems said it had "no control" over whether any hostile takeover offer was made, following an indication from Oracle that the company was one of its take-over candidates.

In a media briefing today, vice-president of corporate communications for BEA, Kevin Faulkner, said "there has been a lot talk over the past three years about BEA being a target for acquisition...obviously as a publicly traded company there are certain things that we just don't have control over".

Faulkner maintains that the company has "come to the conclusion" that it does not want to be a part of a larger entity, stating "the management still believe that we offer a lot value to customers as a standalone player".

"So the management strategy remains to be independent but there are things out there that we can't control... if someone was to make a hostile offer to take control over us we can't control to stop whether that will happen or not," he said.

However, Faulkner said the company does have a "poison pill" strategy in place in case of a hostile take-over attempt. The strategy involves boosting the shares of other shareholders to lower the bidder's percentage of ownership. The strategy in effect forces the company attempting the take-over to negotiate with BEA directly, it said.

In response to questions on the sincerity of software giant Oracle's takeover intentions, Faulkner said that "it's hard to speculate" whether the company was actually planning an acquisition or if it was just trying to spread unease amongst BEA investors.

"Its hard to speculate what's going on in the minds of Oracle's leaders, but let's say that is a common tactic that they follow," he said.

Faulkner said the company will be improving its business to ward off any such attempt.

"Step number one is to improve our business. That's absolutely the focus of management. Remain profitable, remain cash flow positive, return to licence revenue growth," he said.

According to BEA, its licensing revenues dropped five percent in the first half of the year compared to the last half of 2003, as Faulkner said "it's a difficult spending environment".

"There are some tactical things we're doing to improve the licensing spending performance...one of those would be the telco application server," he said. "Telcos are investing in building wireless data servers and building VoIP, we are already the platform for systems like that for DoCoMo... and Optus. And we still think there is a lot more we can do there."

Faulkner adds the company is also looking to transform some its technology into application "solutions".

"We see common ways that we are used across the industry and we are wrapping some of those into solutions," he said, giving examples such as employee self service portals and customer self service portals.

Faulkner said licensing revenue looks positive for the second half of the year.