Following on the heels of the U.S. Department of Justices moves last week to bring to a head its antitrust investigation into Oracle Corp.s proposed $9.4 billion takeover of PeopleSoft Inc., the European Commission said yesterday it will reach a decision by May 11.
PeopleSoft has been fending off an acquisition attempt from Oracle since last June. In addition to being hotly contested by PeopleSoft, the deal is under antitrust investigations by the Justice Department, the EC and over half the U.S. state attorneys general.
The EC began an investigation into Oracles hostile takeover bid last November. An initial month-long investigation suggested that a combined company would reduce the number of key players from three to two in the software applications market, where SAP AG, Oracle and PeopleSoft are seen as key competitors. The EC is also looking at the implications of the deal on the database market.
The Justice Departments decision on the matter is expected a month earlier, on or before March 2, according to PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif.
The Justice Departments decision is expected to have no bearing on the ECs decision, though the two agencies are cooperating on their investigations, according to the ECs Web site.
Last week, the staff of the Justice Departments Antitrust Division recommended to senior officials that they move to stop Oracles overtures for PeopleSoft. The final decision lies in the hands of Assistant Attorney General R. Hewitt Pate, who will decide whether or not to pursue a federal injunction to stop Oracle.
Should the EC decide that the deal is anticompetitive to the software industry in Europe, a combined Oracle and PeopleSoft would be barred from doing business there.