Oracle Expects DOJ Decision by March

UPDATED: The DOJ hints that a decision could come much earlier; however, the EU delays its decision, requesting more information from Oracle.

The ongoing battle between PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle Corp. is simmering just below the boiling point.

In the fight to see if Oracles hostile bid for PeopleSoft will be successful, both companies have filed suit against one another, the U.S. Department of Justice is in the midst of a potential antitrust investigation, and the European Commission is not far behind with its own, similar investigation.

While PeopleSoft filed requests in Alameda County Court late last week to interview Oracle executives, it appears Oracle should be on the same track. The judge in Oracles suit ruled in August that both cases should run their discovery phases concurrently, according to documents filed last week.

Oracle has also revealed that it is in "substantial compliance" with the DOJs second request for information and expects a final decision from the DOJ by the end of March.

DOJ officials, however, have hinted that a decision may come much earlier than spring. Prior to Oracles filing last week, a decision by the DOJ was believed to be imminent, as early as the end of January.

The European Commission, for its part, said today it had sent a request to Oracle for more information regarding its $19.50-per-share tender offer for PeopleSoft, according to the Associated Press. The EUs decision regarding Oracles bid was due on March 30, but that deadline has been revised with this latest request for information.

PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., has a number of claims against Oracle. Chief amongst them is the contention that Oracle has set about an intentional campaign to ruin its business and shareholder value. It is suing Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., for injunctive relief that would include Oracle withdrawing its tender offer and ceasing any written, oral or electronic communications with PeopleSoft customers.

Next page: Oracle takes issue with anti-takeover measure.