Oracle still shopping — buys up billing specialist

Telco billing specialist, Portal Software, is set to become a new business unit at Redwood shores. China Martens reports

Oracle intends to make yet another acquisition — this time of Portal Software, a vendor of billing and revenue management products. Oracle has offered US$220 million (NZ$356 million) and expects the transaction to close in June.

Portal’s software enables telco carriers to bill and manage a wide range of services, including landline and wireless phones, broadband, cable, VoIP,

IP television, music and video. Oracle says it will integrate its ERP applications, and the CRM software it acquired through the purchase of Siebel, with Portal’s billing and revenue management capabilities. Over time, Oracle may consider expanding use of Portal’s software to other industries.

The spotlight has been more heavily focused on Oracle’s acquisitions in the open source arena, which include database engine vendors Sleepycat and Innobase.

However, Oracle has also continued to buy up software companies in a range of vertical markets, including Retek, in retail; i-flex in financial services and TimesTen and HotSip in the telco market.

Oracle is also busy integrating the applications it gained through the multibillion dollar purchases of Siebel and PeopleSoft.

The bulk of Portal’s customers, 96%, also use Oracle’s database, while 57% use Oracle’s applications. Portal’s software is in use at 240 installations in 60 countries, supporting more than 150 million subscribers.

Portal’s management and staff will form a global communications business unit at Oracle focused on billing and revenue management. Bhaskar Gorti, Portal’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, services and marketing, is set to head up the unit and Dave Labuda, Portal’s founder and chief executive, will become the unit’s chief technology officer.

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