Will Oracle Acquire Novell?

Larry Ellison recently suggested that Oracle might consider acquiring Novell as a way to expand into the Linux operating system business and to increase Oracle’s presence in the rapidly growing open source software market. In the past year, Oracle purchased open source database companies Sleepycat and Innobase and was rumored to have been in acquisition talks with MySQL, JBoss, and Zend. MySQL’s CEO Marten Mickos has been quoted in the press as saying that MySQL turned down offers from Oracle. On the other hand, JBoss did decide to be acquired; however, it was Red Hat, not Oracle, who made the purchase.

I do not think that Oracle is likely to acquire Novell at least not at in the immediate future. This looks more like posturing aimed at Red Hat, which now competes more directly with Oracle as a result of the JBoss acquisition. I also think that Novell is still assimilating SUSE and other open source acquisitions making them a difficult company to acquire.

In reality, who knows what will happen in this unpredictable M&A environment. If my years of experience in the technology industry have taught me anything, it is that Larry Ellison is not predictable.