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11/20/2004
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Oracle Secures Nearly 61% PeopleSoft Shareholder Backing

Oracle has won backing from slightly more than 60% of PeopleSoft Inc. shareholders in its $9.2 billion hostile takeover.

Oracle has won backing from slightly more than 60% of PeopleSoft Inc. shareholders in its $9.2 billion hostile takeover.Friday evening, the software maker announced that 228.7 million out of the roughly 376 million PeopleSoft shares were tendered by the 9 p.m. PST, Nov. 19, deadline. "The owners of PeopleSoft have spoken and have overwhelmingly chosen to sell to Oracle at $24.00 per share," said Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, in a statement. "We are prepared to enter into a definitive merger agreement as early as this weekend."

Securing nearly 61% of PeopleSoft shares, however, may not end the 17-month fight that the Redwood Shores, Calif., software maker said it would abandon if it didn't gain backing from more than half the stockholders.

There is more work to be done, even though Ellison won support from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, and Capital Guardian Trust Co.

The battle may now move to a Delaware courtroom, where Oracle sued to remove PeopleSoft's anti-takeover defenses, "the poison pill."

A lot is at stake for Oracle. Completing this acquisition would allow Oracle to move into the No. 2 spot, up from No. 3, in the business-management software market behind SAP. PeopleSoft gained ground on Oracle last year when it acquired J.D. Edwards & Co.

Meanwhile, Oracle has extended its tender offer until 6 p.m. EST on Dec. 31 to gain additional support. In a letter to PeopleSoft shareholders, Oracle states the combination of Oracle and PeopleSoft will have a larger combined customer base, expanded brand reach, critical mass in more industries with ability to provide better global support, and be more competitive against SAP, Microsoft, and a wave of new outsourcing competitors.

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