Oracle's Ellison Calls HP Suit 'Vindictive'

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wasted little time responding to Hewlett-Packard's decision to sue its former leader Mark Hurd over joining Oracle.
Publish date:



) -- Larry Ellison, the CEO of

Oracle Corp.

(ORCL) - Get Report

, didn't keep quiet about


(HPQ) - Get Report

lawsuit against his company's newest executive for long.

"Oracle has long viewed HP as an important partner," said Ellison in

a statement

posted late Tuesday on Oracle's company Web site. "By filing this vindictive lawsuit against Oracle and Mark Hurd, the HP board is acting with utter disregard for that partnership, our joint customers, and their own shareholders and employees.

Oracle announced its hiring of Hurd, who was ousted from HP in early August following a sexual harassment inquiry, on Monday. Hurd was brought in as president and a member of the board, and will directly to Ellison. According to multiple media reports, HP has followed quickly with a suit that claims Hurd's hiring violates a non-disclosure agreement related to his resignation.

Ellison didn't pull any punches in his statement, essentially saying the suit could very well have an impact on the business relationship between HP and Oracle.

"The HP Board is making it virtually impossible for Oracle and HP to continue to cooperate and work together in the IT marketplace," Ellison said.

HP shares closed Tuesday down 1% at $39.92, while Oracle's stock surged almost 6% to $24.26 on the news, which was lauded by Wall Street.

"We are positively surprised that Mark Hurd joined Oracle as a President, as we had expected him to take some time working away from the spotlight before returning to a role at a publicly traded company," said Jefferies & Co. in a note earlier Tuesday.

"However Oracle is rarely one to let an opportunity go, and Larry Ellison has a strong relationship with Mark Hurd, believes in his capabilities as an executive and thought that HP's board had made a grave error in asking for his resignation," the note continued.

Jefferies has a buy rating on shares of Oracle, which will report its fiscal first-quarter results on Sept. 16.


Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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