U.S. software giant Oracle Corp. says it wants a slice of the clean energy transition unfolding across America’s $2.3 trillion utilities industry.
Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) announced Monday it will buy software-as-a-service company Opower Inc. (NYSE:OPWR) for about $548 million in cash. Opower provides cloud services and big data analysis to help more than 100 global utilities to boost their energy efficiency and provide better customer service.
Oracle’s offer of $10.30 per share is a 30 percent premium over Opower’s close on Friday, Reuters reported. The equity value is based on Opower’s 53.2 million shares outstanding as of Feb. 29.
With the deal, Oracle will have spent more than $1.2 billion over the last week on cloud acquisitions. The Redwood, California-based company last week bought Textura, which provides contract and payment cloud services for construction companies, in a deal valued at $663 million.
U.S. power companies are wrestling with how to modernize their business models in an era of plunging coal and natural gas prices, flattening demand for power and policies that increasingly encourage renewable energy over traditional fossil fuels to address climate change. Some of the major players, including Opower customers National Grid and Pacific Gas & Electric Co., are searching for new streams of revenue to replace declining power sales and returns on grid infrastructure projects.
“It’s leading utilities to investments that are going to adapt to all these pressures,” Jim Kapsis, Opower’s vice president of global policy and regulatory affairs, said in an interview last fall. “Our company is very much engaged with the utilities and helping them think through how to adjust to the new realities.”
Opower, based in Arlington, Virginia, analyzes data from more than 60 million utility customers. Utilities, using the information, can help customers meet energy efficiency targets and lower operational costs by figuring out how and when to reduce surges in electricity use. Customers of Pacific Gas & Electric in California, one of the largest combination natural gas and electricity utilities in the U.S., have so far saved around $51.4 million on their collective energy bills, according to Oracle.
Shares in Opower surged 30.6 percent to $10.31 per share by 10:30 a.m. EDT. Oracle stock was up 0.35 percent to about $40 per share.