Oracle Makes Last Pitch for PeopleSoft

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2004-11-09 Print this article Print

Opinion: In its campaign to take over its rival PeopleSoft, Oracle roiled the enterprise applications market and spent millions on lawyers fees. But will the roar of its hostile bid end in a whimper?

It may be hard to believe, but it appears that Oracle may be ready to toss in the towel on its marathon effort to buy out PeopleSoft. The final hurdle looks to be the lack of acceptance of Oracles offer by PeopleSofts shareholders. According to an Associated Press report, Oracle will abandon its legal challenge to PeopleSofts "poison pill" shareholder-rights provisions—and to a money-back guarantee for customers—if shareholders dont tender a majority of the outstanding shares for what Oracle has called its "best and final offer." This info was contained in a letter sent to Delawares Court of Chancery late last week by an Oracle attorney.
Click here to read the details about Oracles "best and final offer" for PeopleSoft.
The court heard testimony in the case last month and scheduled a hearing for Friday to review any final issues before the court renders its decision. The letter is in contrast to the belligerent tone Oracle took earlier this month, when it said it would "look to the Delaware Chancery court to take appropriate action" to remove PeopleSofts anti-takeover measures if Oracle received tender offers for a majority of the shares. Oracle is asking Chancery Court Vice Chancellor Leo Strine to postpone the Friday hearing until after Oracle learns whether more than 50 percent of PeopleSoft shareholders will accept what it has repeatedly called its last, best offer of $24 a share. The offer is scheduled to expire Nov. 19. Oracle announced the increase from its earlier $21 per share on Nov. 1. But that doesnt mean Oracle has permanently cured itself of its longing to acquire PeopleSoft. Instead, it appears that Oracles latest maneuver could leave the door open for a renewed buyout bid at some later date if PeopleSoft flounders in the market and its stock price tanks to perhaps make shareholders more willing to accept the deal. It doesnt make much sense for Oracle to keep pressing for a decision in the lawsuit if a majority of shareholders wont accept even a final, sweetened offer. It could very well be that Oracle doesnt see PeopleSoft shareholders flocking to accept its final offer. Next Page: Shareholders last chance?

John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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