Oracle Seeks to Postpone PeopleSoft Suit

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-07-30
 
 
 
Oracle Corp. has asked the Delaware Chancery Court to postpone, indefinitely, a hearing for its case against PeopleSoft Inc.

The case is an attempt by Oracle to prevent PeopleSoft from exercising its so-called poison pill—which is a stock-related maneuver that would torpedo Oracles attempted takeover. Oracle began the hostile takeover attempt in June.

In a letter to the court that was sent on Friday, Oracle attorney Allen Terrell Jr. requested that the Redwood Shores, Calif., company be given until Sept. 15 to report back to the court on a proposed hearing date.

In the letter, Terrell blamed the need for a delay on the Department of Justices second request for materials in its antitrust review of Oracles tender offer. "Because the review is ongoing, we believe that it would be premature to attempt to fix a hearing date for the pending claims, including the claim to compel a redemption of the PeopleSoft pill," Terrell wrote.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Lilienthal said that both PeopleSoft and Oracle will continue to update the Delaware Chancery Court. "Both parties are continuing to move forward with discovery and producing documents related to the trial and will continue to update the court on our progress with the DOJ review," she said.

PeopleSoft went along with Oracles request, but in doing so raised concerns about wanting to press on with its pending unfair competition claims against Oracle. Those were filed in the early days of the saga in the Superior Court of the State of California.

"While the PeopleSoft defendants do not oppose Oracles proposal to report later as to the scheduling of the Delaware actions, Oracles desire to delay proceeding with its action here should not operate to preclude PeopleSoft from prosecuting its earlier-filed action in California," PeopleSofts attorney, Peter Walsh, wrote in a letter sent to the court on Friday.

The letter goes on to state, for the first time, the specific damages PeopleSoft is seeking from Oracle in the anti-competition case. "PeopleSoft has been (and is being) materially damaged by Oracles acts of unfair competition, which are interfering on an ongoing basis with PeopleSofts customer relationships and its ability to attract new customers," Walsh wrote. "PeopleSofts California action seeks injunctive relief to prevent further damage to the business, as well as damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars."

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