PeopleSoft's board of directors has rejected Oracle's latest unsolicited offer to buy the enterprise resource management software company.
California-based PeopleSoft also announced the settlement of a number of class action suits filed against it in connection with Oracle's bid.
Oracle's latest offer, made earlier this month, was $21 per share, or approximately $7.7bn. It was $5 per share lower than Oracle's previous offer of $9.4bn and, like Oracle's three previous offers, it was flatly rejected by the PeopleSoft board.
"The reduced offer is inadequate and does not reflect PeopleSoft's real value," the company said.
The company's board also believes there is a "significant likelihood" that the transaction would be blocked under antitrust law.
Regulators in Europe and the US have expressed concern about the deal. In February, the US Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust suit to block the deal. The trial in that case is expected to begin 7 June 2004.
Oracle's latest offer expires on 16 July. Previously, Oracle had made offers of $16, $19.50 and $26 per share for PeopleSoft.
Separately, PeopleSoft has signed a memorandum of understanding to settle class action lawsuits filed in Delaware and California by PeopleSoft stockholders who are unhappy with the company's Customer Assurance Programme.
Created after Oracle launched its hostile takeover campaign, the Program offered to pay PeopleSoft customers refunds for their software licences, should PeopleSoft's products be discontinued.
"The settlement puts all of those lawsuits to rest," a PeopleSoft spokesman said.
PeopleSoft's stock was trading slightly under $18 per share on Wednesday.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service