Oracle Seeks to Postpone PeopleSoft Suit

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-07-30 Print this article Print

Oracle's suit is an attempt to prevent PeopleSoft from exercising its so-called poison pill—a stock-related maneuver that would torpedo Oracle's attempted takeover.

Oracle Corp. has asked the Delaware Chancery Court to postpone, indefinitely, a hearing for its case against PeopleSoft Inc. The case is an attempt by Oracle to prevent PeopleSoft from exercising its so-called poison pill—which is a stock-related maneuver that would torpedo Oracles attempted takeover. Oracle began the hostile takeover attempt in June. In a letter to the court that was sent on Friday, Oracle attorney Allen Terrell Jr. requested that the Redwood Shores, Calif., company be given until Sept. 15 to report back to the court on a proposed hearing date.
In the letter, Terrell blamed the need for a delay on the Department of Justices second request for materials in its antitrust review of Oracles tender offer. "Because the review is ongoing, we believe that it would be premature to attempt to fix a hearing date for the pending claims, including the claim to compel a redemption of the PeopleSoft pill," Terrell wrote.
Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Lilienthal said that both PeopleSoft and Oracle will continue to update the Delaware Chancery Court. "Both parties are continuing to move forward with discovery and producing documents related to the trial and will continue to update the court on our progress with the DOJ review," she said. PeopleSoft went along with Oracles request, but in doing so raised concerns about wanting to press on with its pending unfair competition claims against Oracle. Those were filed in the early days of the saga in the Superior Court of the State of California. "While the PeopleSoft defendants do not oppose Oracles proposal to report later as to the scheduling of the Delaware actions, Oracles desire to delay proceeding with its action here should not operate to preclude PeopleSoft from prosecuting its earlier-filed action in California," PeopleSofts attorney, Peter Walsh, wrote in a letter sent to the court on Friday. The letter goes on to state, for the first time, the specific damages PeopleSoft is seeking from Oracle in the anti-competition case. "PeopleSoft has been (and is being) materially damaged by Oracles acts of unfair competition, which are interfering on an ongoing basis with PeopleSofts customer relationships and its ability to attract new customers," Walsh wrote. "PeopleSofts California action seeks injunctive relief to prevent further damage to the business, as well as damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars."
Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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