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Oracle Expects U.S. to Seek More Data

June 30, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Oracle Corp. expects the U.S. Justice Department to request more information this week related to the Redwood City, Calif., company's $6.3-billion unsolicited bid for PeopleSoft Inc.

A request from the Justice Department, which would be the second informational inquiry from regulators, could substantially delay any deal.

"Considering the high-profile nature of this transaction and the fact that DOJ just received the case less than two weeks ago, we fully expect to receive a second request" for information, Oracle spokesman Jim Finn said in a statement Sunday.

"We remain very optimistic that DOJ will conclude that this transaction is not anti-competitive and that we will complete the transaction in a timely manner," Finn said.

The proposal already faces opposition from the Connecticut attorney general, who has filed a state antitrust lawsuit to block a sale and is encouraging other attorneys general to sue.

PeopleSoft's board of directors on June 20 rejected Oracle's offer, citing an inadequate price and potential problems clearing federal and state antitrust hurdles. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based company instead is forging ahead with its planned acquisition of Denver-based J.D. Edwards & Co., a friendly deal that is set to close July 27.

In meetings with Oracle customers last week, Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison left the door open for a higher bid. Replying to questions about whether he would up his bid, Ellison said, "Never say never."

Oracle and PeopleSoft are the No. 2 and No. 3 providers, respectively, of a $23-billion global market for software used to run back-office tasks for large organizations. Only SAP in Germany is bigger. If PeopleSoft completes its buyout of J.D. Edwards, it will vault ahead of Oracle to capture the No. 2 spot.

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