Software maker Oracle Corp. (ORCL) Thursday posted a lower quarterly profit as a rise in acquisition-related expenses offset higher revenue and the company's shares fell more than 3 percent.

Second quarter net income for the period ended Nov. 30 fell to $798 million, or 15 cents per share, from $815 million, or 16 cents per share, from a year earlier. Revenue rose 19 percent to $3.29 billion.

Excluding one-time items, the company said it posted a per-share profit of 19 cents, up 16 percent from 16 cents in the year-ago period . That was in line with the average Wall Street view of 19 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Oracle said that net revenue of its database middleware new license revenue rose 5 percent to $785 million and net revenue of its applications software rose 24 percent to $266 million. Net services revenue rose 26 percent to $675 million.

In the past two years, Oracle has spent some $19 billion buying up its rivals as part of a bid to lead consolidation in what the company sees as a maturing industry for business aimed at large enterprises.

Oracle stock has lost nearly 7 percent since the beginning of the year, while major rival SAP AG of Germany shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange are up about 5 percent during the same period.

Oracle shares trade at about 16 times its projected 2006 earnings per share, excluding items, while SAP shares excluding items on the New York Stock Exchange are valued at a 27 times projected earnings.

Shares of Oracle, which were little changed during regular session trading on Nasdaq, dropped 44 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $12.38 in after-hours trading once the quarterly results were reported.