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Mark Hurd is the $6.5-billion man for Oracle [Updated]

Ousted by Hewlett-Packard Co., former CEO Mark Hurd is getting a rousing welcome from Oracle Corp. investors Tuesday.

Oracle’s shares were up $1.29, or 5.6%, to $24.21 at about 11 a.m. PDT, reacting to the tech giant’s  announcement that Hurd is coming aboard as co-president.

The stock move has added $6.5 billion in market value to Oracle, lifting the company’s capitalization to nearly $122 billion. [Updated at 2 p.m. PDT: Oracle shares closed up $1.34 to $24.26, undeterred by HP's announcement that it is suing Hurd to stop him from taking the Oracle job.]

Hurd Hurd, 53, quit as head of HP on Aug. 6 after a former contract worker for the firm accused him of sexual harassment. HP's probe of the allegations discovered no evidence of harassment, but found "numerous instances" in which Hurd submitted inaccurate expense reports meant to conceal his relationship with the worker.

Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison set the stage for hiring Hurd when he told the New York Times last month that HP’s move to jettison Hurd was “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

Ajay Kasargod, who follows Oracle for brokerage Morgan Keegan & Co., said in a research note that Hurd’s move to Oracle “strengthens the company’s ability to focus on the growth of [its] systems business, primarily servers and storage, that it acquired as part of the Sun Microsystems acquisition” in January.

“In the end, who better to help build the Sun business than Mark Hurd, who prior to Oracle ran the largest hardware technology company in the market,” Kasargod said.

Ross MacMillan, an analyst at Jefferies & Co., noted that Oracle, under Ellison, “is rarely one to let an opportunity go and it is clear that 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.”

HP shares were down 25 cents to $40.09. The stock has slumped 13% since Hurd’s ouster.

-- Tom Petruno

Photo: Mark Hurd. Credit: Lou Dematteis / Reuters

 
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