Oracle/PeopleSoft: manoeuvres leave users unfazed

Australian users were unfazed last week by a US court ruling that lets Oracle move ahead with its hostile takeover of PeopleSoft.

In a US Federal Court (San Francisco) ruling Chief Judge Vaughan Walker cleared the way for Oracle to continue its 15-month-old hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft, and rejected representations by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to block the $US7.7 billion offer on antitrust grounds.

Walker has stayed his 164-page ruling for 10 days pending any potential appeal, with DoJ representatives saying they were disappointed by the ruling.

In Australia, the Department of Defence, which has one of the largest HR and payroll systems in the country on PeopleSoft, and a substantial upgrade from R7 to R8 planned for next year, has been actively monitoring the situation.

Director general of personnel systems, Defence personnel executive, Peter Lush told Computerworld he expected the litigation to drag on for "God knows how long", but did not intend changing vendors because of it.

"This is going to be a long, drawn-out process [but] we are not troubled by this. It's not a matter of changing horses - we know which horse we have backed. We are not in the position where we have to make a decision today or tomorrow," Lush said.

Lush said he had received a letter from PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway in the last 24 hours explaining the situation.

PeopleSoft users in the wine industry, which are predominantly on the former JD Edwards EnterpriseOne platform, were also unfussed.

"There's nothing we can do, we have to wait and see how it all pans out. It's not worth worrying about until then, so why worry about it?" said the IT manager for a major South Australian winery.

PeopleSoft director of corporate public relations Steve Swasey said the PeopleSoft board remained unanimously opposed to Oracle's hostile bid and that the board considered Oracle's offers to be well below the worth of the company.

Swasey declined to say which way he thought Oracle's takeover attempt would ultimately go on the grounds it would be "purely speculative".

In the interim, Swasey said PeopleSoft would press on with its legal counter assault for "tortious interference" in November and is seeking $US 1 billion in compensation in addition to a larger sum as punitive damages for the impact the takeover attempt has had.

"It's had an effect on our earnings," Swasey said.

Oracle has set about reinventing the English lexicon in trumpeting the ruling as a win.

"This decision puts the onus squarely on the board of PeopleSoft to meet with us and to redeem their poison pill so that the shareholders can accept our offer," said Oracle chairman Jeffrey Henley in a written statement.

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More about Department of DefenceDepartment of JusticeDOJJD EdwardsOraclePeopleSoftUS Department of Justice

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