The American Shareholders Association (ASA) is stepping forward to request that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Assistant Attorney General R. Hewitt Pate not interfere with Oracle Corp.s proposed $9.4 billion bid to purchase PeopleSoft on the grounds that the potential acquisitions outcome should be decided solely by PeopleSoft shareholders.
The non-profit ASA, which debuted in 1999 as a project for the Americans for Tax Reform organization, contends that if the DOJ blocks the transaction simply on the notion that it violates antitrust laws, the result would incur "immediate drastic change" in future antitrust laws leading to a drop in equity values for all companies.
"I have (ASA) members who own PeopleSoft stock whom I have communicated with who are for being bought out, and (members) who are against it," said Daniel Clifton, executive director for the Washington-based ASA. "Whats happening here is the DOJ is setting a precedent. This should be up to the shareholders to decide."
The DOJ is expected to announce its decision on the proposed merger by the first week in March. PeopleSoft officials have said they expect notice of the DOJs finding on or before March 2.
Clifton said any actions by the DOJ toward striking down Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracles purchase of rival software maker PeopleSoft would irrevocably alter the implicit value of publicly traded stocks by altering existing standards that mergers and acquisitions traditionally follow.
"(The DOJ) is going to try to change the rules in the middle of the game and that affects all shareholders and companies in this country," remarked Clifton.