Oracle further extends PeopleSoft offer

Oracle has again extended its US$7.7 billion cash offer for PeopleSoft. Shareholders now have until October 8 to tender their shares, Oracle said Thursday.

The extension comes two weeks after a federal judge in San Francisco sided with Oracle by ruling that an acquisition of PeopleSoft would not be anticompetitive. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sought to block the hostile takeover on those grounds and battled Oracle during a four-week trial in June.

Oracle is offering US$21 per share. The offer has been extended several times already and was set to expire on September 24. PeopleSoft is fighting Oracle's takeover attempt: The Pleasanton, California-based company's board of directors has unanimously rejected each of Oracle's offers as inadequate.

The number of shares tendered by PeopleSoft shareholders has dropped since Oracle won the court case. As of the end of Thursday, about 23.8 million shares, or 6.5 percent of PeopleSoft's outstanding shares, had been tendered into Oracle's offer, the company said. That is down from 26.5 million, or 7.2 percent of outstanding shares, two weeks ago. PeopleSoft's shares (PSFT) closed at US$19.25 Thursday on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Although it has defeated the DOJ in court, Oracle still faces several hurdles before it can acquire PeopleSoft. These include a possible appeal by the DOJ and an anti-takeover provision in PeopleSoft's bylaws that allows it to manipulate its shares to make a hostile acquisition prohibitively expensive. Also, the European Commission is still investigating the antitrust implications of the takeover bid.

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