Oracle Thumbs Nose At Cisco And Buys Acme Packets for $2.1 billion

Larry Ellison

Photo: Asa Mathat | All Things Digital

Oracle announced today that it was buying network equipment maker Acme Packets for $2.1 billion.Oracle will actually pay $29.25/share, about a 22 per cent premium. But when accounting for Acme’s cash, Oracle will really be paying, $1.7 billion, the company says.

This is an interesting and surprising move for Oracle.

Acme Packets makes equipment for VoIP networks, which allows voice and video to run over a data network. (In geek terms, it makes something called session border controllers). VoIP is the tech that gave us Skype and Facetime.

Acme is the largest SBC equipment maker, with about 800 employees and 1,900 customers. It’s an old market (Acme was founded in 2000) but it has gotten hot again, because wireless service providers are upgrading their networks to run voice over the data part of their networks, a tech called Voice over LTE.

Cisco is, of course, working hard to own the VoLTE market. It offers its own SBC product. rumours circulated last summer that Cisco would buy Acme.

By buying Acme, Oracle again signals its intent to compete head-to-head against Cisco on Cisco’s turf, network equipment. Last summer, Oracle bought startup, Xsigo, another network equipment maker.

This is Oracle’s first acquisition of the year. Last year, it bought 11 companies. The largest deal was for human resources software company, Taleo, for $1.9 billion.

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