States Consider Fight Against Oracles Bid for PeopleSoft

Attorneys general could follow Connecticut's lead in suing Oracle on antitrust grounds.

Looking to put additional pressure on Oracle Corp. to halt its hostile takeover bid of enterprise software rival PeopleSoft Inc., Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has contacted every state in the union asking them to join a class action suit against Oracle, according to Blumenthals press office.

Several states have expressed interest, including Texas and California, though none has officially joined the suit.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot said in a statement that "our office has not taken any legal action to block the proposed takeover, but we are watching the developments closely. We take great interest anytime a situation threatens competition and puts the customer, whether an individual or government entity, in jeopardy of paying higher prices for a particular product."

A spokesman for Abbot said an earlier report from the Wall Street Journal stating that Texas had indeed joined Connecticuts suit is incorrect.

A spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer told eWEEK, "We have no plans to intervene at this point, but we are monitoring developments."

The attorneys general are holding a conference call today to discuss the issue.

On June 18 Connecticuts Blumenthal, along with Governor John Rowland and state Comptroller Nancy Wyman, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., to block its hostile takeover bid of PeopleSoft, which is based in Pleasanton, Calif. The lawsuit alleges that the acquisition of PeopleSoft by Oracle would violate state and federal antitrust laws, directly damage the state and its economy, and raise prices for businesses, governments and consumers by significantly reducing competition in the markets.

Oracle, for its part, released a statement today reaffirming its resolve to acquire PeopleSoft.

In Oracles original takeover bid there was a condition that PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards & Co (in the midst of being acquired by PeopleSoft) not amend the conditions of their merger, announced in early June. In mid-June, PeopleSoft made amendments to the merger designed to allow the two companies to speed up the transaction.