Oracle Extends Another Deadline

Oracle Friday postponed yet another deadline in its $7.3 billion takeover bid for applications rival PeopleSoft .

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant said it has extended its announced tender to midnight EST on Wednesday, December 31, 2003. Previously, the offer of $19.50 per share for all of the common stock of PeopleSoft was set to expire on Oct. 17.

“We are as committed today as we were when we first announced our offer in June and therefore extend our bid for PeopleSoft,” said Jim Finn, Oracle spokesperson.

The No. 2 business software maker said as of the close of business on Friday, October 10, 2003, a total of 24,812,259 shares had been tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer.

A spokesperson for Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft was not immediately available to comment.

Both U.S. and European antitrust regulators are reviewing the deal and the Department of Justice (DOJ) appears poised to step in to attempt to thwart Oracle’s hostile takeover, according to published reports.

PeopleSoft became a significant threat to Oracle’s applications business when it acquired mid-market applications provider J.D. Edwards for $1.7 billion.

Oracle announced its intentions to buy PeopleSoft June 6 and the two have been in court ever since, negotiating a series of legal maneuvers. The latest issue is a battle between the two companies in Delaware district court over whether PeopleSoft has the right to get internal e-mails from Oracle released to the public.

PeopleSoft is trying to prove that Oracle executives and lower-rung employees have gloated about the company’s overtures to hurt PeopleSoft en route to scooping it up. Oracle denied such proof, noting that the e-mails were taken out of context. A district court judge in Delaware agreed to allow the release of several Oracle e-mails that suggest its hostile intentions to break up its rival.

Conversely, Oracle has also accused PeopleSoft of withholding about 2,000 e-mails sent to or received by its CEO Craig Conway. The court also ordered PeopleSoft to provide an affidavit to Oracle that justifies its actions.

Editor’s note: editor Clint Boulton contributed to this report.

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