The multiyear buyback binge cost more than a third of today’s market value for Oracle and has pushed the company into net debt despite sporting $35.7 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet.
“How does this buyback strategy help you in 2025?” Freeman said. “The cloud guys are eating your lunch. You can’t do $10 billion a year in buybacks and build out your cloud services. There’s no way.″
In Oracle’s case, unlike that of similarly-sized tech giants Cisco or Intel, the interests of shareholders virtually boil down to pleasing Ellison, the S&P analyst said.