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HP's response has been added to this story.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (


) -- Despite

growing speculation



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CEO Larry Ellison may grab troubled tech giant


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for a knock-down price, an acquisition would be seriously foolish, warns Nucleus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann.

"I can't really see that it would be a smart move for Oracle," she told


. "There's not enough that's attractive -- Oracle already has a hardware business and HP doesn't really have a software business, which is where the growth and margins are."

Oracle's CEO Larry Ellison.

Chatter about an Oracle bid for its ailing rival has intensified following


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reported hiring


Goldman Sachs

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to outflank activist shareholders, a move which could also signal the no.1 PC maker's desire to fend off a takeover by Oracle.

A spokesman for HP would only comment that the company "has long-term relationships with a large number of investment banks," when contacted by



Ellison certainly enjoys flashing his cash, particularly when the target is a big name such

Sun Microsystems



, or

BEA Systems

. Additionally, HP is a company in turmoil. The hardware giant, which recently

swapped out its CEO

, has seen its share price plunge more the 43% this year, and desperately needs to

regain shareholders' trust


Wettemann, though, thinks that even the uber-aggressive Ellison will pass on HP. "I don't see it, unless Larry really likes the

HP calculators, or needs a printer," she quipped.

Silicon Valley's belligerent-in-chief, however, can't resist aiming a few kicks at HP while it's down. An avid trash talker, Ellison surpassed himself late on Wednesday when Oracle launched a surprise attack on software maker


, soon to become part of HP in a controversial $11.7 billion deal.

The database giant issued a statement challenging a denial by Autonomy CEO Mike Lynch that he had tried to get Oracle to buy his firm before going to HP. Oracle then posted a set of slides on its Web site which it claims were part of an Autonomy sales pitch that took place during an April meeting between the two companies. The meeting, it said, was also attended by investment banking legend Frank Quattrone.

Autonomy countered, saying that it was made clear at the April meeting that the company was not for sale. The slides, it added, were prepared independently by Quattrone's Qatalyst Partners and sent to Oracle in January. "This is the first time we have seen them," explained Autonomy.

Nucleus Research's Wettemann thinks that the row is classic Ellison, the latest in a

long line of feuds

designed to rattle the opposition. "It's Larry being Larry," she told


. "He's in a unique position to create distractions for his competitors because of Oracle's strength in the enterprise market place."

Goldman Sachs declined to comment on this story. Qatalyst Partners has yet to respond to


request for comment. HP declined to comment on the Oracle/Autonomy spat.

HP shares were up 46 cents, or 1.98%, to $23.65 on Thursday. Oracle's stock was up 8 cents, or 0.25%, to $29.53.


Written by James Rogers in New York


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