Oracle Licensing

Oracle Licensing Strategies for Mergers and Acquisitions

Oracle Licensing in Mergers and Acquisitions:

  • Review Deployments: Audit both entities’ current Oracle usage.
  • Check Entitlements: Analyze all licensing agreements and entitlements.
  • Address Shortfalls: Remediate any license deficiencies promptly.
  • Negotiate Terms: Engage with Oracle to unify licensing terms.
  • Prepare for Audits: Conduct mock audits and prepare documentation.

Oracle Licensing Strategies for Mergers and Acquisitions

Oracle Licensing Strategies for Mergers and Acquisitions

In the complex world of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Oracle licensing can pose a significant challenge.

The intricacies of Oracle’s licensing policies and the contractual obligations of both merging entities can lead to compliance issues and potential audit risks.

This article explores the specifics of handling Oracle licenses during M&A and offers strategic steps to mitigate risks and ensure compliance.

Introduction to Oracle Licensing in Mergers and Acquisitions

When two companies merge, the assumption is often that both entities have sufficient quantities and products to cover their use of Oracle software.

However, a critical factor that can prevent the merged entity from using Oracle software across both entities is the contractual term known as the “customer definition.”

What is the Customer Definition?

The “customer definition” is a contract term in Oracle’s Ordering Document. It specifies which legal entities may use and access Oracle software.

In the context of a merger, both entities will have different customer definitions, and this discrepancy can prevent the use of licenses across both entities.

The Audit Risk in M&A

The immediate audit risk during M&A is very high. M&A is probably the most common trigger for any software audit, including Oracle audits.

This risk arises from the potential misalignment of licensing agreements and the actual software usage in the merged entity.

Steps Companies Should Take

Steps Companies Should Take

To mitigate these risks and ensure compliance, companies should take the following steps:

Review Licensing Deployments in Both Entities

This step is crucial to understand the current licensing situation and identify potential compliance issues. It also helps to identify any missing licenses that may need to be purchased.

This purchase can be used as leverage to renegotiate the contracts.

  • Action: Conduct a comprehensive audit of both entities’ current Oracle deployments.
  • Objective: Identify compliance issues and potential gaps in licensing.

Review All License Entitlements

Creating a global overview of potential contract risks and identifying which entity has better terms can be strategic for future operations.

  • Action: Compile and analyze all licensing agreements and entitlements.
  • Objective: Determine the best terms and conditions for both entities.

Remediate License Shortfalls and Identify Surplus

Remediation should be a priority if there are license shortfalls. Conversely, if there is a surplus of licenses, those licenses can be targeted for cost savings.

  • Action: Identify areas where licenses are deficient or in surplus.
  • Objective: Address deficiencies promptly and reallocate surplus licenses to optimize costs.

Negotiate with Oracle

Once a full license compliance position is achieved and a license entitlement overview is created, companies can negotiate with Oracle to change the customer definition to enable use across both entities.

  • Action: Engage with Oracle to discuss changing the customer definition.
  • Objective: Achieve a unified license agreement that covers the merged entity.

Practical Considerations

Practical Considerations

Handling Oracle licenses during M&A requires strategic planning and practical execution. Here are some additional considerations:

Communication Between Teams

Ensure open communication between both entities’ IT, legal, and procurement teams. This collaboration is crucial for identifying and addressing potential licensing issues promptly.

  • Action: Establish regular meetings and updates between all relevant teams.
  • Objective: Maintain a unified approach to licensing compliance and negotiation.

Utilizing Oracle Licensing Tools

Leverage Oracle’s licensing tools and resources to get an accurate picture of your licensing position.

  • Action: Use Oracle’s license management tools to track and report usage.
  • Objective: Ensure accurate and up-to-date licensing information.

Preparing for Oracle Audits

Preparing for Oracle Audits

Given the high audit risk during M&A, prepare proactively for potential Oracle audits.

  • Action: Conduct mock audits and prepare all necessary documentation.
  • Objective: Be audit-ready to minimize disruptions and risks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the “customer definition” in Oracle licensing?
The “customer definition” is a contractual term in Oracle’s Ordering Document. It specifies which legal entities may use and access Oracle software.

Why is M&A a common trigger for Oracle audits?
M&A often leads to changes in software usage that may not align with existing licensing agreements, triggering an audit.

What steps should companies take during M&A to ensure Oracle license compliance?
Companies should review licensing deployments and license entitlements, remediate license shortfalls, identify surplus licenses for cost savings, and negotiate with Oracle to change the customer definition.

How can we ensure compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies during M&A?
Conduct thorough reviews of both entities’ licensing deployments and entitlements, address any shortfalls or surpluses, and negotiate unified terms with Oracle.

What are the risks of not addressing Oracle licensing issues during M&A?
Non-compliance with Oracle’s licensing policies can lead to significant financial penalties, operational disruptions, and legal challenges.

Can existing Oracle licenses be transferred or shared between merging entities?
This depends on the specific terms of the customer definition in the Oracle licensing agreements of both entities. Generally, licenses cannot be shared unless explicitly stated in the agreement.

How often should licensing reviews be conducted during M&A?
Licensing reviews should be continuous throughout the M&A process, with major reviews at key stages such as due diligence, pre-merger, and post-merger integration.

What role do Oracle licensing experts play in M&A?
Oracle licensing experts provide specialized knowledge and strategies for navigating the complexities of Oracle licensing, ensuring compliance, and optimizing costs during the M&A process.

Is it possible to negotiate new terms with Oracle during M&A?
Yes, companies can and should negotiate new terms with Oracle, particularly if the merger or acquisition significantly changes software usage and licensing needs.

What documentation is needed to ensure compliance with Oracle licensing?
Comprehensive documentation includes all Oracle licensing agreements, deployment records, usage reports, and correspondence regarding licensing terms and compliance with Oracle

How can companies manage the transition of Oracle licenses during post-merger integration?
Establish clear license management policies and procedures, conduct regular audits, and maintain open communication with Oracle and internal stakeholders.

What are the benefits of achieving a unified Oracle licensing agreement post-merger?
A unified agreement simplifies license management, reduces compliance risks, and, through optimized licensing terms, can lead to cost savings.

By understanding the complexities of Oracle licensing in M&A and taking strategic steps, companies can ensure compliance, mitigate audit risks, and achieve cost savings.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.

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