The proposed acquisition of Sun by Oracle is not likely to have a major impact on the majority of employees of the two companies in India, if one goes by the experience of earlier two mega mergers and acquisitions — Alcatel with Lucent and Nokia with Siemens — in the last three years. However, there may be top-level changes.
Oracle has about 25,000 employees in India and Sun Microsystems has about 1,200 employees here.
The Alcatel-Lucent merger, to create world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, began in April 2006 and got completed in December 2006. Alcatel had revenues of over $500 million, while Lucent’s revenues were below $50 million. Alcatel was a leading GSM supplier, while Lucent was in CDMA.
When the merger between the two companies was on, Ravi Sharma, the then president of Alcatel (South Asia) was made the head of Alcatel Lucent. CS Rao, president of Lucent resigned in September, 2006.
“There were no layoffs in India since the presence of people were complimentary for technology as well as commercial operations,” Ravi Sharma, who later on founded Phi Televentures told Hindustan Times.
However, within two years, nearly 80 per cent of the top management of Alcatel-Lucent left globally.
In June 2006, Nokia and Siemens announced the merger of Nokia’s network group with Siemens’ carrier related business. The merger was completed in January 2007. As Nokia was the bigger company, Ashish Chowdhary, who was heading India operations of Nokia became head of Nokia Siemens Networks. In October 2007, he was appointed global head of managed services. Michael Kuehner, former head of Japan and Korea, became head of India and Nepal. Prior to the merger, he was with Siemens.
The important thing was that all changes and movements were only at the top. There was no retrenchment of employees from the company.
“Even though the proposed acquisition of Sun by Oracle comes in the midst of global economic slowdown, the fact is that no company would cut down on people in a growing market,” said an industry observer.
In November, Sun announced that it would lay off jobs globally. By March, 2009, between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs had already been cut. However, in India only 200 people were laid off. Oracle has not succumbed to the slowdown pressure. “Therefore, in India one of the two heads may have to go,” Sharma said. “At other levels there may not be drastic changes.”