DOJ Makes Second Inquiry to Oracle

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2003-06-30

DOJ Makes Second Inquiry to Oracle

The U.S. Department of Justice Monday issued a second request to Oracle Corp. requiring more information regarding that companys bid to acquire rival PeopleSoft Inc., according to a release put out by Oracle this afternoon.

The request comes from the DOJs antitrust division, which will look at the proposed merger and its possible ramifications on the software market.

A spokeswoman from the DOJ said that while she cannot confirm the second request, the investigation into the deal is continuing.

With the second request, the DOJ is signaling that it will likely not allow the proposed merger to sail by unchallenged.

Oracle, for its part, is taking the request in stride – outwardly at least.

The company released a statement late this afternoon saying, "We were not surprised [by the second request] given the size and scope of the transaction and the fact that PeopleSoft is also proposing its own transaction, which is undergoing regulatory review," said Jim Finn, spokesperson for Redwood Shores, Calif., company.

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In early June PeopleSoft announced its plan to purchase mid-market rival J.D. Edwards & Co. The bid spurred Oracle to pass over PeopleSofts management team and head directly to shareholders with a hostile takeover bid for the enterprise resource planning developer.

A combined PeopleSoft and JDE company would bump Oracle to number three in the coveted ERP applications market, behind German software behemoth SAP Ag and PeopleSoft, respectively.

Oracle has the option to appeal the latest DOJ request. According to the DOJ, if the recipient of a second request believes that the request is unreasonably cumulative, unduly burdensome or duplicative, and a modification cannot be agreed upon, an appeal may be filed.

However, given Oracles statements this afternoon, it appears unlikely the company will appeal.

"We remain optimistic that the Department of Justice will conclude that this transaction is not anti-competitive, and that we will complete the transaction in a timely manner," said Finn.

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