Oracle extends PeopleSoft tender offer

Oracle Corp. has given PeopleSoft Inc. shareholders an extra 11 days to accept its offer to acquire all common stock of PeopleSoft, and announced that the holders of one in nine shares have so far accepted the deal. The deadline to accept the tender offer is now midnight Eastern time on July 18, Oracle announced Thursday.

Oracle announced its US$5.1 billion unsolicited bid for PeopleSoft on June 6 and, in the face of strong resistance from PeopleSoft, increased its offer to US$6.3 billion on June 18. The offer originally was due to expire at midnight on July 7.

By close of business Thursday, 34,753,434 shares had been tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer, Oracle said. There are 316,606,000 PeopleSoft shares outstanding, according to the Nasdaq stock exchange Web site.

The response rate of less than 11 per cent is “underwhelming,” according to PeopleSoft Director of Corporate Public Relations Steve Swasey.

“It’s consistent with what PeopleSoft’s board has said all along: that Oracle’s offer undervalues the company and involves unacceptable risks for stockholders,” he said.

Oracle needs a majority of PeopleSoft shares to be tendered if the acquisition is to go ahead. Oracle Vice-President of Corporate Public Relations Jennifer Glass would not speculate on what action the company might take if that majority were not obtained by July 18.