Oracle today announced that they'd like to acquire BEA and have placed a bid for BEA. The BEA management on the other hand seems to not be willing to become a part of Oracle. To me, it's somewhat surprising that Oracle looks on BEA. Oracle has its own middleware product and, from a technical perspective, I don't see the urgent requirement to buy BEA. BEA, for sure, is one of the leading vendors in the market space but I don't expect them to add that much value at least from a technical perspective to Oracle that it would be worth to pay the pretty high price.
So there is mainly one reason for this bid: Market share. If you combine the market shares of both companies the result will probably be the market leader, in front of SAP and IBM as closest competitors. With respect to the ongoing "battle" between Oracle and SAP its reasonable from an Oracle perspective to invest in marketshare especially in the core segment of competition, the middleware or application infrastructure market - however you name this market segment.
Beyond this, the Oracle bid for BEA points to another thing I have in mind for a long time: BEA is the only large vendor in this segment which is focused mainly on middleware. I doubted that this is sufficient. From my perspective, BEA and BMC would be an interesting fit - much more interesting than Oracle and BEA, because that's really mainly about market share. Combining BEA and BMC would led to a strong vendor which competes against IBM and others, with a broad offering covering the infrastructure as well as the applications and thus delivering the basis for sort of an ERP for IT. But if I look back to the PeopleSoft acquisition, I doubt that anyone else will acquire then Oracle.
So we can expect Oracle to set the next milestone in the mentioned "battle" against SAP through expanding its market share in the middleware market - and sit back and wait for a response from SAP.