Icahn Pushes BEA Sale

The activist investor hints in an SEC filing he would push for a sale of the software company.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Carl Icahn's investment group says it will try to meet with infrastructure software developer BEA Systems (BEAS) to push for a sale of the company, according to a regulatory filing Friday.

Icahn Capital Management has dramatically upped its stake in the company to 33.4 million shares, or 8.5% of BEA, including 16.1 million shares underlying call options, according to documents filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

. The investors paid a total of $291.8 million for the stake.

Stock in the San Jose, Calif.-based company closed up 49 cents, or 3.8%, to $13.25 Friday.

An earlier filing by Icahn & Co. indicated the hedge fund had recently bought an initial 7.9 million shares.

BEA

is no stranger to buyout rumors, which have come and gone for years. Possible suitors rumored in the past include

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

and

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

.

Icahn's group stated it believes "a strategic acquirer could utilize greater resources and market presence" than BEA to take advantage of its technology "and thereby profit from higher revenue growth and the elimination of duplicative costs."

The stock has stagnated over the past year, dropping 10%. While revenue rose 7% year on year to $364.6 million for the most recent quarter, license fees fell 9%.

Because industry consolidation puts independent software vendors like BEA at a competitive disadvantage, a sale of the company is in order, according to the filing. The group intends to ask management for a meeting to discuss a sale and other aspects of operations.

Icahn and company also stated it may nominate its own slate of candidates for the board of directors.

BEA officials did not return phone messages Friday afternoon.