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BEA Sets $21 Per Share Buyout Value

BEA Systems said Thursday it is prepared to discuss a sale of the company to Oracle Corp. and other potential suitors at a price of $21 per share.

That is well above the $17 per share bid that larger rival Oracle made two weeks ago for the business software maker. BEA has twice rejected the offer as too low, according to Oracle.

BEA said it reached the $21 figure after consultation with adviser Goldman Sachs. BEA said it is "prepared to authorize negotiations with third parties including Oracle" at that price.

The $21 price values BEA at about $8.15 billion, based on its roughly 388.2 million outstanding shares as of April 2006, the last time BEA filed a quarterly report with regulators. Oracle's offer values BEA at about $6.7 billion.

On Tuesday, Oracle set a deadline for this Sunday evening for BEA to accept its original offer.

BEA's board said Thursday it will "continue to vigorously oppose a sale to Oracle at $17 per share" because it undervalues the company.

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