PeopleSoft board votes to reject lower Oracle offer

PeopleSoft Inc.’s board of directors on Wednesday rejected Oracle Corp.’s latest unsolicited offer to buy the enterprise resource management software company. PeopleSoft, in Pleasanton, Calif., also announced that it has settled a number of class action suits filed against it in connection with Oracle’s bid.

Oracle’s latest offer, made earlier this month, was US$21 per share, or approximately US$7.7 billion. It was US$5 per share lower than Oracle’s previous offer of US$9.4 billion, and like Oracle’s three previous offers, it was flatly rejected by the PeopleSoft board.

“The reduced offer is inadequate and does not reflect PeopleSoft’s real value,” PeopleSoft said in a statement. The company’s board also believes that there is a “significant likelihood” that the transaction would be blocked under antitrust law, the statement said.

Regulators in Europe and the U.S. have expressed concern over the deal. In February, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust suit to block the deal. Trial in that case is expected to begin June 7.

Oracle’s latest offer expires July 16. Previously Oracle had made offers of US$16, US$19.50 and US$26 per share for PeopleSoft.

Separately, PeopleSoft on Wednesday announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to settle class action lawsuits filed in Delaware and California by PeopleSoft stockholders unhappy with the company’s Customer Assurance Program. Created after Oracle launched its hostile takeover campaign, the Customer Assurance Program offered to pay PeopleSoft customers refunds for their software licenses, should PeopleSoft’s products be discontinued.

“The settlement puts all of those lawsuits to rest,” a PeopleSoft spokesperson said.

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