An analyst has reportedly said HP may buy middleware vendor BEA.

Although the company has been the subject of such rumours for a while, senior equity research analyst Terry Tillman capital markets firm, of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has reportedly said a deal may be on the cards. This is despite the vendor being among the many firms currently subject to investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission probe into stock options practices.

BEA at the beginning of December said it would restate its earnings as a result of discrepancies it found related to stock options backdating. Then its stock fell 3%, but rallied today with a 5.21% rise.

HP has been on the software acquisition trail for some time now, only recently completing its acquisition of performance management vendor, Mercury Interactive.

But this is not the first time acquisition reports have centred on BEA. In 2004 Oracle chief Larry Ellison famously admitted he had considered buying the company during his legal wrangle to buy PeopleSoft.

There had been no comment from either HP or BEA on the stories at time of publication.