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Oracle wins share battle but PeopleSoft board refuses to negotiate

PeopleSoft's director will not discuss a takeover by Oracle even though more than 60% of PeopleSoft's outstanding shares have been tendered to Oracle.

PeopleSoft directors told Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison and Oracle chairman Jeffrey Henley at the weekend that they would continue to oppose Oracle's hostile takeover bid.

The rejection put to an end Oracle hopes that a deal to acquire PeopleSoft could be finalised quickly in the aftermath of its most recent offer for the company, which valued shares in PeopleSoft $24 (£13).

Despite the large percentage of shares tendered in Oracle's offer, PeopleSoft's board showed no signs of yielding in its opposition to an Oracle takeover. They said the price being offered by Oracle was too low and that the majority of shareholders - including shareholders that tendered their shares in Oracle's offer - opposed a sale at that price.

"We would be willing to discuss an offer made by Oracle at an appropriate price - but $24 is not that price," said George Battle, chairman of the transaction committee and a member of the board at PeopleSoft.

Oracle has been stalking PeopleSoft for 17 months and had had pledged to withdraw its offer if it did not receive backing from a majority of PeopleSoft's shareholders.

A court hearing on Wednesday will determine whether Oracle can now proceed with the takeover or whether rules put in place by the PeopleSoft board to prevent a hostile takeover remain valid.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service


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