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Justice Department Recommends Against Oracle's Bid For PeopleSoft

Oracle maintains that its takeover bid ultimately will be cleared.
Oracle executives late Tuesday said they believe that the company's takeover bid for rival software maker PeopleSoft Inc. will ultimately be cleared by U.S. regulators, even though Justice Department lawyers have urged blocking the bid on anti-trust grounds.

"PeopleSoft's lobbying resulted in complicating and prolonging the Justice Department review of the merger," an Oracle spokesman said in a prepared statement. "While no decision has yet been made, Oracle believes this merger will eventually be approved."

Justice Department lawyers are recommending that the U.S. government file suit to block Oracle's $9.4-billion, hostile takeover offer, according to the company. PeopleSoft's board rejected an offer on Monday from Oracle of $26 per share, up from $19.50 per share, as inadequate.

Oracle co-president Charles Phillips at an AMR Research conference this week in Dana Point, Calif., said he believes the bid will eventually go through. "Our best and final price has been put on the table," Phillips said. "The reason it's taken so long is the huge amount of material the DOJ has requested," Phillips said. "It began basic. We put forth a lot of facts that support our position, but you never know."

Oracle's customer base, which is consolidating suppliers and software platforms, is a big reason Oracle is hoping to make acquisitions, according to Phillips. "I can't get specific, but our acquisition strategy isn't limited to applications," he said. "All I can say is we are looking at all relevant markets that we already operate in."

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