Oracle again extends bid for PeopleSoft

Oracle has once again extended its offer to acquire PeopleSoft, this time until December 31. It also disclosed that the number of shares tendered in favour of the merger has declined from a month ago.

Oracle announced its $US5.1 billion unsolicited bid for PeopleSoft in June and, in the face of strong resistance from PeopleSoft, has since raised its offer to $US7.3 billion.

It has renewed its bid for the company at least five times, with the most recent offer set to expire October 17.

At of the close of business last Friday, a total of 24,812,259 shares had been tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer, representing about 8 per cent of all outstanding shares, Oracle spokeswoman, Deborah Lilienthal, said. That's down from 38,718,737 shares at the close of business on September 4.

The spokesperson argued that the drop in tendered shares did not indicate that support for the acquisition was waning. PeopleSoft shareholders don't have an incentive to tender their shares in favour of the merger while it's still being reviewed by the US Department of Justice for potential antitrust concerns, she said.

Oracle previously said it would continue to extend the deadline for acceptance of the deal until it reached its goal of acquiring a majority of PeopleSoft's outstanding shares.

The company was as committed to the merger today as it was when it first announced its offer, Oracle spokesman, Jim Finn, said.

PeopleSoft executives have been dismissing the Oracle bid as a dead issue and concentrating their energies on integrating PeopleSoft's products with those of J.D. Edwards & Co., which PeopleSoft acquired in July.

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