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Oracle Will Give U.S. Documents

March 17, 2004|From Reuters

Oracle Corp. will hand over disputed documents the government sought to help block the company's proposed acquisition of rival PeopleSoft Inc., according to court papers.

Under terms of a court order issued late Monday, Oracle will give the Justice Department forms that were filled out by salespeople who wanted to offer discounts to customers. The department says the discount forms are important because they will demonstrate how Oracle discounts its software to compete with PeopleSoft and Germany's SAP.

Under the order signed by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco, Oracle must turn over the discount forms within five business days.

Lawyers for the department are trying to prove in federal court that the takeover deal would violate antitrust laws by eliminating one of only three players in the market for software sold to large business customers to manage finances, human resources, sales forces and other business functions.

The Justice Department filed suit Feb. 27 to stop the $9.4-billion hostile takeover attempt. The case is scheduled to go to trial June 7.

Oracle has dismissed competition concerns as unwarranted. It accuses the department of "gerrymandering" the market to make it look as if it includes only three companies when in fact, it says, there are many other software companies, such as Microsoft Corp., that can compete for large customers.

Oracle shares rose 4 cents Tuesday to $11.70, and PeopleSoft shares fell 1 cent to $18.97, both on Nasdaq.

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