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Oracle's Final Offer

Company raises bid for PeopleSoft to $24 per share and sets Nov. 19 deadline

It looks like the end-game for Oracle's 17-month bid to acquire PeopleSoft Inc. Last week Oracle made what it called its "best and final" offer, upping its bid from $21 to $24 per share and setting a deadline of midnight Nov. 19 for PeopleSoft shareholders to tender a majority of their stock.

Oracle executives said they'd withdraw the offer if a majority of PeopleSoft shares aren't tendered by the deadline. They made it clear that the company's pursuit of PeopleSoft will end next week. "By Nov. 19, we're going to see a resolution of this situation," CFO Harry You said.

Oracle called on PeopleSoft's board to remove its "poison pill" anti-takeover measure. If a majority of PeopleSoft shares are tendered, and PeopleSoft's board hasn't dropped the poison pill, Oracle will rely on a ruling from Delaware Chancery Court where it sued to get the measure removed, said Oracle chairman Jeff Henley.

The new offer increases the value of the deal from $7.7 billion to $9.2 billion. As of Thursday, only 20.1 million shares, or 5.6% of PeopleSoft's total, had been tendered, Oracle said. PeopleSoft's board has told stock- holders to take no action while it studies the bid. It previously rejected an offer of $26.

Two weeks ago, the European Commission said it wouldn't oppose the acquisition. In September, a U.S. district court judge ruled that an Oracle takeover of PeopleSoft wouldn't violate U.S. antitrust laws.

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