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Oracle Extends Bid Deadline for PeopleSoft

Oracle Friday extended its deadline for acquiring PeopleSoft , even though currently only 3 percent of the company's shares have been tendered by those who support the deal.

That 3 percent, or roughly 12.4 million shares, is less than half of the 24.8 million shares tendered by PeopleSoft shareholders who supported the deal in October, when Oracle last reaffirmed its $7.3 million bid for the rival applications company.

The decline in tendered shares may signal a waning interest in the deal, which is stalled while the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission decide whether the proposed merger is in the best interest of customers. A decision from both agencies is expected early next year.

"The continued underwhelming response to Oracle's unsolicited tender offer is consistent with the PeopleSoft Board of Directors' conclusion that Oracle's offer is not in the best interests of PeopleSoft stockholders," said PeopleSoft in a public statement.

An Oracle spokesperson said the company is not alarmed by the drop in shares tendered.

"As we have said from the onset, until the deal is cleared by DOJ, there is little incentive for shareholders to tender shares," the spokesperson said. "We are committed for the long term."

Amid a number of legal jousts, PeopleSoft's board believes that Oracle's offer significantly undervalues the company by any objective valuation measure and faces serious antitrust concerns.

Meanwhile, Oracle is crying foul over PeopleSoft's official and unofficial poison pills, the latter of which has come in the form of a customer assurance program that could bump the cost for acquiring PeopleSoft by about $800 million.

Oracle's most recent $7.3 billion bid for rival applications vendor PeopleSoft was set to expire Dec. 31. The Redwood Shores, Calif. Software concern extended that deadline to Feb. 13, 2004.