Oracles PeopleSoft Bid Under Scrutiny in Canada, EU

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-08-13
 
 
 

The mob of regulatory authorities eyeballing Oracle Corp.s hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc. now includes Canada and the European Union.

Robert Lancop, assistant deputy commissioner in Canadas Competition Bureaus mergers branch, said that his departments review is standard operating procedure when a proposed merger meets certain criteria. Those criteria include whenever combined companies would have sales equivalent to a minimum of $400 million (Canadian) in imports, exports or sales within Canada, and if the merger price reaches at least $50 million (Canadian).

"This is certainly one weve commenced a review on," said Lancop, in Hull, Quebec. "Whenever theres a large merger of this type, its subject to a review by us."

Canadian regulatory authorities are in close contact with their EU and U.S. counterparts to exchange information and compare notes, Lancop said.

As it is, the U.S. Department of Justice and a group of U.S. state attorneys general are already putting Oracle through the review wringer. Thirty states joined together to share the costs and effort of review, while the DOJ already has made multiple requests for information from Oracle.

Like its counterparts, Canadas Competition Bureau will be examining market share and competition of the two companies; barriers to market entry, including economic or regulatory barriers; competitive products; and whatever competition will be left standing after a successful merger, among other things.

Interviewing customers will be a major part of the review. Lancop declined to cite the size of the customers likely to be interviewed, but he did say that his department is now in the midst of the process and that the first to be inspected have been the biggest.

An Oracle spokeswoman said that neither the Canadian or EU inspections are a surprise. "This is standard procedure, and this was anticipated," she said. "Weve been in discussion with local authorities and are hoping this comes to a speedy resolution. … Were making all appropriate antitrust filings, period."

Rocket Fuel