Oracle reportedly near deal for Columbia-based Micros Systems

Stock in Columbia-based Micros Systems Inc. surged Tuesday after a report that it was about to be acquired by technology giant Oracle Corp.

The company's shares shot up nearly 15 percent to close at $66.33 each in Tuesday trading after Bloomberg News reported that Oracle and Micros were in exclusive talks about the sale of the Maryland firm for more than $5 billion.

The Bloomberg report cited anonymous sources "familiar with the matter," and neither company responded to requests for comment.

It is the second time the two companies have discussed a deal, and negotiations could still collapse, the report said.

Micros Systems makes point-of-sale systems for the hospitality and retail industries. Its clients include Five Guys and Ruth's Chris Steak House, as well as many of the main hotel brands, and stadiums, including M&T; Bank Stadium.

Founded in 1977, Micros has about 6,500 employees worldwide, including at least 900 in Maryland, according to its most recent annual report.

The firm in May reported net income of $50.3 million for the first three months of the year, with revenue of $349 million, up nearly 11 percent from a year ago.

Oracle, based in Redwood, Calif., saw its stock increase more modestly, trading around $42.54 in midafternoon, up about 1 percent.

The deal, if confirmed, would be Oracle's largest acquisition since it bought Sun Microsystems for $5.6 billion in 2009.

Led by billionaire CEO Larry Ellison, the company has increasingly been looking to acquisitions to sustain its growth. Oracle reported quarterly revenue and profit that failed to satisfy investors looking for signs of a sustained turnaround and forecast in-line current-quarter results in March. It is to report its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Thursday.

Four-decade-old Oracle's strategy has been to integrate software with its own high-end, expensive hardware for greater efficiency.

Smaller, aggressive companies such as and Workday often undercut Oracle's pricing with competitive software and Internet-based products.

Ellison has said he plans to compete aggressively against rivals offering cloud-based technology infrastructure services, like and Rackspace Hostings.

Oracle has been rolling out its own cloud-based products and acquiring smaller cloud companies such as marketing software maker Responsys Inc.

A deal for Micros Systems would let Oracle stave off threats from software-as-a-service e-commerce vendors such as Demandware and NetSuite, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives.

Ives said Oracle's rivals could offer a higher bid to drive up the price.

"We believe the most likely candidates would be SAP or IBM, which offers WebSphere, its own enterprise-class e-commerce platform," the analyst said.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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