True, the last time I weighed in on the 20-volume epic Oracle vs. PeopleSoft saga, Larry Ellison et al. had just upped the bid to a healthy $26 per share. The consummation of the deal looked like a shoo-in, barring the DoJs pulling the plug, I wrote.
Well, hallelujah and praise be, that did indeed come to pass within the past hours. The DoJ pulled the plug.
Perhaps it was the cynic in me that foresaw profit pushing PeopleSoft shareholders into the belly of the database beast. Thats what happens when you talk to too many financial services and stockholder types, many of whom said they wanted to get their hot little hands on that money.
And after all, as Oracle President Chuck Phillips told eWEEK Department Editor John S. McCright and Senior Writer Brian Fonseca, plenty of PeopleSoft stockholders told the company theyd “love to have access to the $26 [per share] in cash.”
As far as PeopleSofts strategy goes, what once had the aura of egotism now appears to be a blueprint for success in fending off unwelcome advances. PeopleSofts board and executive management dug in its heels, refused to meet with Oracle to discuss the offer, and declined an invitation to attend the J.D. Edwards users conference (a venue that Oracle execs gladly leaped upon).
Now that the DoJ has announced its intention to block the $9.4 billion deal, this stubborn, poison pill-like attitude, this “Id rather eat my left foot first” approach, has the markings of genius. Mark my words, tomorrows scholars of corporate governance will be studying PeopleSofts strategy.
Will Oracle appeal
Of course, Oracle can always appeal. The battle may still drag on.
The company hasnt publicly called it quits, instead issuing this defiant statement from Oracle Spokesman Jim Finn:
“The Department of Justice decision follows an aggressive lobbying campaign by PeopleSoft management. It is inconsistent with the overwhelming evidence of intense competition in the markets we server, and we believe it is without basis in fact or in law. A combined Oracle/PeopleSoft will significantly benefit all customers and shareholders involved.”
First, its just a tad hypocritical to call PeopleSofts lobbying campaign “aggressive” and to phrase that in a negative way. Yes, of course PeopleSofts lobbying is aggressive. So is Oracles, right? Considering the companys crusade to convert PeopleSoft shareholders, its like the pot calling the kettle black.
With regards to the DoJs take on the anti-trust nature of the merger, Oracle probably has a point. Theres plenty of competition in this market, between Microsofts recent entry and the morphing of the industry itself.
But for the sake of PeopleSoft customers and employees, Im hoping the DoJ wins on this one. When it comes to bosses, I wouldnt wish Larry Ellison on anybody.
Congratulations, PeopleSoft supporters—youve won the battle. What are your thoughts on winning the war? Write me at email@example.com.
eWEEK.com Database Center Editor Lisa Vaas has written about enterprise applications since 1997.
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