Oracles Phillips Drives PeopleSoft Deal

By eweek  |  Posted 2004-02-23 Print this article Print

Oracle's Co-President of Database and Business Applications Charles Phillips recently sat down with eWEEK Department Editor John S. McCright and Senior Writer Brian Fonseca to discuss the PeopleSoft deal and IT issues at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Sho

Within weeks of joining Oracle Corp. last spring Charles Phillips began to play a very prominent role in Oracles hostile takeover bid for enterprise applications developer PeopleSoft Inc. Having come from more than a decade as an IT industry financial analyst on Wall Street, that was not surprising. Observers did take note, however, when Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison appointed Phillips and Safra Catz co-Presidents of the database and business applications giant. Phillips recently sat down with eWEEK Department Editor John S. McCright and Senior Writer Brian Fonseca to discuss the PeopleSoft deal and IT issues at Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. eWEEK: What kind of reception have you been getting from shareholders since offering a pro-Oracle slate of PeopleSoft directors? Phillips: We continue to want to try and invite the PeopleSoft management team and board to meet with us. They have refused to do so despite the fact that our newly revised offer is at a substantial premium to where the stock is. We have heard back from plenty of stockholders that they would love to have access to the $26 [per share] in cash.
I guess PeopleSoft said six months ago, no price, no structure, no way; and I guess they meant it. They havent, we think, responded at all or even considered it.
So, given that, the next milestone is waiting for the Department of Justice [to make its official recommendation]. That should happen sometime in March, then well see what happens. But we think we put forth a strong case that this is pro-competitive. Huge competitors like Microsoft [Corp.] and SAP [AG] that are investing and buying companies in this market locked up with an alternative like offshoring and outsourcing, this [merger of Oracle and PeopleSoft] creates a competitive critical mass against these other companies. We still remain confident that the DOJ will come to the same conclusion. eWEEK: How did you pick the slate of board candidates? Phillips: Well, its a long process, a careful review of people who are prominent in the field and are known…that was the main criteria. They were unaffiliated with Oracle, they will be paid like directors, as all directors are. eWEEK: Have you complied with everything the European Commission wanted? Phillips: They have suspended the process to gather more information because they came back to us and asked for additional information. Although largely, theyve gotten the same information the DOJ has gotten for the most part. I think its a timing mechanism to stage it behind the DOJ – they typi-cally like to know what the DOJ is going to do to U.S. companies before they make a decision. Were complying with the additional requests now. They [the issues] arent significant so well do that quickly. eWEEK: You have a lot of experience in finance and IT, what do you bring to the company as far as running operations, running sales, and directing development? Phillips: Im not running development and I think its a team approach here so Im not really looking at it as involving these big decisions that one persons making. Its a combination of myself, Safra, and Larry and other people as well.…most things here are a team approach and that means multiple people look at it with different perspectives, its useful. So I feel like Im adding to an already strong team. Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at for more database news, views and analysis. Next Page: Phillips strengths.


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