Oracle Corp. plans to purchase meter data management provider LODESTAR Corp. as part of its strategy to build up skills in several vertical industries including the utilities sector. Subject to closing conditions, Oracle expects to complete the acquisition in May when LODESTAR staff will become part of Oracle’s utilities global business unit.

Oracle acquired a suite of utilities applications last year when it bought SPL WorldGroup in November. SPL provides revenue and operations management software for utilities, and Oracle positioned SPL’s utilities products as complementary to LODESTAR’s software. In addition to meter data management, LODESTAR sells commercial and industrial billing, transaction management, and load research, forecasting and profiling software.

By combining the SPL and LODESTAR technologies, Oracle hopes to offer a wide-ranging suite of software for utility customers. The vendor will also further integrate LODESTAR’s offerings with its database, general-purpose business applications and middleware.

Founded in 1978, LODESTAR has its headquarters in Peabody, Massachusetts, employs 125 staff and has over 114 customers around the world including Ergon Energy, Hydro Ottawa and TXU Energy. Oracle estimated that more than half of Lodestar ’s customers are already using Oracle’s applications. /