Acquisitions ignite Oracle profit, revenue

Software giant Oracle orcl posted quarterly profit and revenue Wednesday that topped Wall Street forecasts on strong sales of new software programs, lifting shares 6.5% in after-hours trading.

Oracle reported a second-quarter profit of $1.3 billion, or 25 cents a share, up 35% from the same quarter a year ago. It's the eighth-consecutive quarter in which Oracle's profit has improved at least 20%.

Revenue surged 28%, to $5.3 billion, for the quarter ended Nov. 30. Oracle said new software license sales grew to $1.7 billion, up 38% from a year earlier. Analysts had forecast gains in the 20% range.

"The strength of the quarter comes down to the fact that we are selling more products to more customers in more industries," Safra Catz, Oracle's president and chief financial officer, said in a conference call.

The results are the latest evidence that a $25 billion acquisition spree has allowed Oracle to trim rival SAP's lead in the multibillion-dollar market for software that lets companies automate everything from accounting to human resources to inventory management.

"It underscores their acquisition strategy is paying off handsomely," says Albert Pang, a software analyst at market researcher IDC. "Oracle is making inroads in the banking, retail, utilities and (telecommunications) markets."

Just as important, the results could ease worries that a sluggish U.S. economy and slackening corporate spending on technology would undercut Oracle, says Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research.

Oracle shares dipped 49 cents to $20.76 in regular Nasdaq trading before the earnings news. After hours, the stock rose $1.35.