Peoplesoft urges rejection of Oracle’s US$9.4B bid

Get lost. That is the message, once again, PeopleSoft Inc.’s board of directors is sending to persistent suitor Oracle Corp.

Less than a week after Oracle put a revised and more attractive offer on the table to acquire the maker of enterprise applications, PeopleSoft’s board has voted unanimously to recommend that its shareholders reject the offer, PeopleSoft announced Monday.

Last Wednesday, Oracle upped its bid for PeopleSoft to US$26 per share, boosting the all-cash offer’s total to US$9.4 billion. PeopleSoft on Monday said its board reviewed the offer and determined it falls short of the company’s value. Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. both advised the board that the offer was financially “inadequate,” PeopleSoft said in a statement. The board also cited what it considers is a likely prohibition to the merger on the basis of antitrust law in the U.S. and Europe, PeopleSoft said. Oracle’s real intention is to “damage our company,” PeopleSoft’s chief executive officer Craig Conway is quoted as saying in the statement.

Oracle was quick to issue a response.

“Given PeopleSoft’s uncertain future as a stand-alone company and the fact that, for the first quarter, PeopleSoft guided analysts below the consensus estimates, Oracle believes that its offer is full and generous,” Oracle spokesperson Jim Finn said in a statement Monday.

The database vendor urged PeopleSoft’s shareholders to elect the new board members proposed by Oracle last month.

Oracle’s offer to shareholders is valid through March 12. Oracle’s pursuit of PeopleSoft — a competing maker of enterprise software — began in June 2003, when Oracle offered shareholders US$16 per share, or US$5.1 billion, an amount Oracle has raised several times since then.

However, last week’s offer is Oracle’s final overture, Oracle chairman and chief financial officer Jeff Henley said in a written statement then.

– With files from James Niccolai, IDG News Service

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