The EC’s competition regulators concluded an initial month-long investigation by opening a full-blown four-month one. The decision will be frustrating for Oracle, which is stuck in the take-over equivalent of a holding pattern by antitrust regulators.
To get out of it, it needs clearance from both sides of the Atlantic. The US Department of Justice is due to decided on the proposals in January or February, but the renewed European investigation will not conclude until March.
Oracle has already seen its bid outstripped by its target’s rising share price and is unlikely to welcome a further delay to the decision on whether it can pounce. So far, the bid has risen $2.2bn from an initial offer of $5.1bn.
The commission said in a statement: ‘The combination of two of the largest competitors in the market merits further analysis, especially as the number of key players would be reduced from three to two – Oracle and SAP – in certain applications software markets.’
Peoplesoft said the decision reflected ‘what we believe is the commission’s concern about the anti-competitive impact of Oracle’s unsolicited tender offer on the industry’.
Oracle did not make a statement after the decision.
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