Oracle extends deadline in PeopleSoft buyout bid

Facing a regulatory roadblock, Oracle Corp. has extended by a month the deadline for its US$7.3 billion hostile offer for rival PeopleSoft Inc.

For the past two months, Oracle has been locked in a public and acrimonious fight to digest PeopleSoft, whose board has unanimously urged shareholders to reject Oracle's offer. The Oracle bid is currently stalled as the U.S. Department of Justice proceeds with an investigation over antitrust issues surrounding the deal. Last Friday, the day Oracle's bid was originally set to expire, the company announced it would push back the deadline again to Sept. 19. It had previously extended the deadline.

"We are extending our offer for PeopleSoft, and we remain fully committed to acquiring PeopleSoft," said company spokesman Jim Finn.

Oracle has also moved to sue PeopleSoft in a Delaware court in an effort to force the company to remove the "poison pill" antitakeover provisions.

According to Oracle, as of Aug. 8 a total of 37,708,208 shares had been tendered and not withdrawn from the deal.

Further complicating the matter for Oracle is the fact that PeopleSoft recently completed its own US$1.75 billion friendly buyout of business applications vendor J.D. Edwards & Co. Oracle had expressed ambivalence about the J.D. Edwards buyout.

Provided regulatory approval is granted, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said he would wait until next June to try and take over PeopleSoft's board at its annual election, if need be.

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