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(ORCL) - Get Free Report

investors should expect an update on the company's acquisition of

Sun Microsystems

when the database specialist reports its first-quarter results after market close. There's also likely to be more details on

the controversial hiring of ousted Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) - Get Free Report CEO Mark Hurd.

Never one to back down from a fight, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison could fire off more shots at HP during the call to discuss earnings, amid

concerns that Hurd-related tension could seriously damage the companies' close business relationship.

HP sued its former CEO earlier this month, alleging breach of contract and threatened misappropriation of trade secrets just one day after Oracle appointed the executive as co-president.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison

Sun Microsystems

will also be high on the agenda. This marks the second full quarter of results following Oracle's acquisition of the ailing server, and while many observers were scratching their heads when Oracle launched its shock $7.4 billion bid for Sun last year, the

initial post-acquisition signs have been positive.

During the fourth quarter, sales of system hardware brought in $1.2 billion, and the new acquisition contributed more than $400 million to Oracle's fourth-quarter operating income.

Oracle also gave a bullish forecast, predicting that a profitable Sun will contribute at least $1.5 billion to its non-GAAP operating income in fiscal 2011, and $2.0 billion in fiscal 2012.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect Oracle to report total revenue of $7.27 billion and earnings of 37 cents a share after market close, compared to $5.1 billion and 30 cents a share in the prior year's quarter.

While Oracle traditionally reports weak first-quarter results, some analysts think that the bellwether will benefit from delayed fourth-quarter IT projects. "Our field conversations at the end of May implied that the breadth of Oracle's offering (now including Sun) increased deal complexity and resulted in a greater than typical percentage of enterprise transactions pushing into fiscal 2011," explained Brad Zelnick, an analyst at Macquarie Securities, in a note released Thursday. "We believe this phenomenon created a strong fiscal first-quarter setup and helped offset exposure to broader macro concerns and spending hesitation that peaked later in the period."

Zelnick, who rates Oracle neutral, expects the database giant to exceed consensus estimates.

Oracle shares dipped 25 cents, or 0.98%, to $25.49 on Thursday, as the Nasdaq slipped 0.20%.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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