US government could block Oracle bid

Link: PeopleSoft rejects Oracle’s third bid

The antitrust division staff recommendation has been submitted to the office of the assistant attorney general, which is expected to make its decision by 2 March, PeopleSoft said.

But Oracle insists this is not the end of its attempt to buy its rival.

The company’s lawyer, James Rill of Howrey, Simon, Arnold & White, said he had seen many instances in which the the assistant attorney general’s decision differed from that recommended by the investigating staff.

He said in a statement: ‘This process simply is not complete.’

Oracle spokesman Jim Finn said the initial proposal to merge PeopleSoft’s applications business with that of Oracle came from PeopleSoft’s chief executive, Craig Conway.

‘However, when Oracle countered by proposing to buy PeopleSoft, Conway said that he wouldn’t sell at any price. He then began a long and intensive lobbying effort aimed at persuading the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice to block the deal.

‘PeopleSoft’s lobbying resulted in complicating and prolonging the Justice Department review of the merger. While no decision has yet been made, Oracle believes this merger will eventually be approved,’ he said.

Earlier this week PeopleSoft asked its shareholders to reject Oracle’s increased bid for the company.

Last week Oracle upped its offer by $2.1bn to $9.4bn, but PeopleSoft’s board has insisted that the revised price is “inadequate and does not reflect [the company’s] value”.

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