PeopleSoft users look to new chief executive for merger reassurance

PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users gathered at London's ExCel conference centre last week with the future of their supplier in...

PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users gathered at London's ExCel conference centre last week with the future of their supplier in doubt.

The PeopleSoft Connect conference followed hard on the heels of the appointment of Dave Duffield as chief executive, following Craig Conway's dismissal, and the US Department of Justice's decision not to block Oracle's long-standing takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

Lee Geishecker, an analyst at Gartner, said the short-term impact on PeopleSoft of Conway's departure and the US court ruling will increase uncertainty for users.

"Conway's tenacious opposition to the Oracle bid improved public perception of PeopleSoft's long-term viability as an independent entity. However, the company's new management has not yet taken the same stance, leaving doubt as to the direction the company will take," he said.

Geishecker said he thought users who have bought PeopleSoft products during the past two quarters would be most concerned by Conway's departure.

Phillip Carnelly, research director at Ovum, suggested that Oracle boss Larry Ellison might be persuaded to once again raise his bid for PeopleSoft, given that its licence sales have increased. "This war is nowhere near over," he said. "Ultimately, we believe Oracle's bid will succeed."

Analyst organisation Yankee Group said, "With healthy earnings expected, PeopleSoft's customers are not too concerned about the prospect of an imminent takeover by Oracle."

Yankee Group said PeopleSoft's executive team would hope that new chief executive Duffield would muster support to prevent shareholders from voting in favour of the buyout, but was largely resigned to the takeover.

In a briefing paper Yankee Group said, "Duffield is a respected and strong leader to oversee PeopleSoft's interests, whether or not the merger actually takes place."

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