States Weigh Suing Oracle

AGs and the DOJ to see if Oracle's hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft violates antitrust laws.

Attorneys general from a handful of states are weighing their legal options for stopping Oracle Corp.s hostile takeover bid for enterprise software rival PeopleSoft Inc.

Oracle also is expecting the U.S. Department of Justice to submit questions to the company as early as today regarding the proposed acquisition.

Attorneys general from California, Texas and Massachusetts and an undisclosed number of colleagues last week took part in a conference call to discuss whether the combination of the software developers would violate antitrust laws.

The action came a week after Connecticut said it would sue Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., on antitrust grounds. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal contacted every state asking them to join the suit. Blumenthal charged that the combination would restrict competition, damage Connecticut and its economy, and raise prices for businesses.

Oracle spokeswoman Jennifer Glass said the company is looking forward to explaining to Connecticut officials how its acquisition of PeopleSoft would result in lower costs, better support and enhanced functionality for state agencies.

At the federal level, the DOJ is conducting a routine review of the transaction. A DOJ spokesman said the Washington agency had until June 30 to request information from Oracle regarding the bid, after which it will decide if it needs to institute a waiting period before the merger can be approved.

"Considering the high profile nature of this transaction and the fact that DOJ just received the case less than two weeks ago, we fully expect to receive a second request" for information, Oracle spokesman Jim Finn said in a prepared statement. "We remain very optimistic that DOJ will conclude that this transaction is not anti-competitive and that we will complete the transaction in a timely manner."