Oracle Refreshes PeopleSoft Offer

by Michael Singer

While it waits for a judge's decision, the software vendor extends its $7.7 billion takeover offer for PeopleSoft.

While it waits for a federal court to rule on its hostile bid for PeopleSoft, Oracle is keeping the deal in play.

The database giant extended its previously announced tender offer of $21 for all of the common stock of PeopleSoft to midnight EDT on Friday, September 10th.

The latest $7.7 billion tender offer was previously set to expire at midnight Thursday. Oracle has had to extend its offer several times since it announced its intentions to acquire its Pleasanton, Calif.-based rival in June of 2003. This latest extension is the second since Oracle dropped its takeover price from an all time high of $26 per-share, or $9.4 billion, for PeopleSoft.

In a brief statement, Oracle said approximately 21.7 million shares had been "tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer," as of the close of business on Thursday.

However, Oracle's plans may be all for naught. A federal court is weighing the Department of Justice's antitrust argument against the deal.

District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker is expected to file his opinion sometime before the end of the month or by early September. Insiders suggested that a recent hearing on third party trade secrets indicated the Judge was preparing a draft of his opinion.

The government spent four weeks trying to prove that the Oracle/PeopleSoft deal would limit choices to just Oracle and SAP AG and create a monopoly in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market. Oracle's lawyers refuted each claim and called several witnesses, including CEO Larry Ellison, to argue that the government's ERP definition is too narrow and must be widened to include Microsoft and IBM , as well as Lawson, Fidelity (FESCo) and Ceridian.

Beyond its best efforts to deflect the DoJ's antitrust claims, Oracle's attempt to take over PeopleSoft faces other hurdles, including PeopleSoft's shareholder rights "poison pill," PeopleSoft's Customer Assurance Program, and a potential antitrust challenge from the European Commission (the regulatory body of the European Union).

  This article was originally published on Friday Aug 27th 2004
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