NEW YORK—In his keynote address this morning at the CeBIT America show here, PeopleSoft Inc. President and CEO Craig Conway made only a passing reference to the controversy swirling around rival Oracle Corp.s hostile bid to acquire his company, but the tone of his speech made it clear that he expects PeopleSoft to be around for a long time.
Speaking to several hundred people in the audience, Conway outlined the steps that PeopleSoft will take to improve its enterprise software products in order to help customers reduce costs and improve efficiencies within their businesses. He also outlined the advantages of the companys $1.75 billion bid to buy Denver-based J.D. Edwards & Co.—including expanding PeopleSofts markets and growing its product line—and that industry reaction validated the move. Separately, PeopleSoft this morning officially commenced its offer to exchange J.D. Edwards stock for PeopleSoft stock.
"When you announce an acquisition, the one thing you can always count on is everybody is going to hate it," he said. "But an interesting thing happened when we announced [the J.D. Edwards deal]. Everybody loved it. … It caught the interest of Wall Street. It caught the interest of industry analysts. It definitely caught the interest of our competitors."
The last sentence was the only point during his hour-long talk that Conway made any reference to Oracles bid to buy PeopleSoft, an intent announced by Oracle officials just days after PeopleSoft announced the J.D. Edwards deal.
Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., initially bid $16 per share on its Pleasanton, Calif., rival, an offer that was quickly rejected. On Wednesday, Oracle upped the bid to $19.50 per share, and PeopleSoft issued a statement saying its board of directors will review the new offer. However, the company reiterated that its objections didnt merely focus on the price, but also antitrust concerns, lengthy regulatory review processes and a potential negative impact on PeopleSoft customers.
Oracles takeover attempt also has touched off a flurry of lawsuits, as PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and the state of Connecticut all have sued the software maker. Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison yesterday sent a letter to Connecticuts governor and attorney general stating that the state was an important customer and that Oracle would continue to support PeopleSoft software if the merger goes through.