Oracle Waives Condition To Persuade PeopleSoft Board

As the battle rages, Ellison touts his philosophy at AppsWorld in London.
In an effort to entice PeopleSoft Inc.'s board to rethink its rejection, Oracle said Tuesday that it will waive a condition in its offer that required PeopleSoft keep its original offer for J.D. Edwards & Co. intact.

Oracle's change of heart means it will overlook PeopleSoft's most recent bid of $1.75 billion, up from $1.7 billion, to buy J.D. Edwards. PeopleSoft changed its bid last week in an effort to accelerate the merger of the two companies.

In a statement, an Oracle spokesman said that although Oracle has provided the waiver, "we continue to view the amended merger agreement as an unlawful device to deprive PeopleSoft shareholders of their right to vote with respect to the J.D. Edwards merger," adding that the condition Oracle has waived was identified by the PeopleSoft board of directors as an important reason for declining to pursue discussions with Oracle. "We hope that with this waiver, PeopleSoft will finally agree to meet with us, as their shareholders are demanding," he said.

For a second time, PeopleSoft's board last week rejected Oracle's unsolicited all-cash offer, which Oracle had upped from $16 per share to $19.50 per share.

Despite the back-and-forth battles, Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison pitched his philosophy on the future of IT systems and applications at Oracle AppsWorld in London this week.

"Modern systems are going to focus on information," he told conference attendees. He said the biggest problem facing application software today is data fragmentation caused by information about businesses being stored in too many separate databases.

"Our data is so chopped up into so many little pieces, all we can see are the trees and we can't see the forest," Ellison said. "There is no way that clever systems integration, using Web services or anything else, can solve data fragmentation."

The solution, Ellison said, is to consolidate information into a single database and have applications sit on top. "That's how we got to the E-business Suite," he said, referring to Oracle's suite of software. "With the next few releases of E-business Suite, you will find CEOs, department managers, and individuals inside all departments go to their computers and find out what they are supposed to do and how well they are doing it."

Oracle also revealed availability of its Oracle Advanced Product Catalog, the core of Oracle's Product Lifecycle Management applications. The software centralizes all product and component information into a single global catalog.