European Commission Opposes Oracles PeopleSoft Bid

European antitrust regulators have joined their U.S. counterparts in objecting to Oracle's $9.4 billion hostile bid for rival PeopleSoft, contending that the proposed merger would hurt the business applications software market.

The European Commission is joining its U.S. counterpart in fighting Oracle Corp.s hostile takeover bid of PeopleSoft Inc.

Oracle said on Friday it received a Statement of Objections from the Commission regarding the proposed merger—almost a full month earlier than the Commissions self-imposed May 11 deadline.

The European watchdog launched an antitrust investigation shortly after the U.S. Department of Justice began a deeper investigation into the deal last June, less than a month after Oracle announced its intent to acquire PeopleSoft.

On Feb. 26 the Justice Department filed suit against Oracle in a San Francisco federal court to try to block the $9.4 billion deal. While the EC hasnt disclosed the details of its complaint, its expected to follow the Justices lead into court, on similar grounds.

Hewitt Pate, assistant attorney general with the Justice Department, said a merger between Oracle and PeopleSoft—the No. 2 and 3 application providers in the world—would be harmful to the software market. Should the deal go through, it would result in less competition, less innovation and increased software prices, according to Pate.

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