Oracle Corp. has once again extended the deadline for PeopleSoft Inc. shareholders to accept its US$19.50 per share takeover offer, Oracle said in a statement late Thursday. The extension now runs until Oct. 17.

The extension comes as Oracle revealed that the take-up of its offer had effectively stalled over the past month. On Aug. 8, Oracle reported that a total of 37,708,208 shares had been tendered by PeopleSoft shareholders. By the close of business on Sept. 4, that figure had inched upward to 38,718,737, Oracle said in its statement.

But that number represents only slightly over 10 per cent of PeopleSoft’s shares, leaving Oracle nowhere near its majority control target. Oracle has previously said it will continue to extend the acceptance deadline until it reaches its goal of acquiring a majority of PeopleSoft’s outstanding shares.

“PeopleSoft’s plan means confusion and execution risk for customers and shareholders,” said Oracle spokesman Jim Finn in a statement. “Oracle believes that its fully-financed, all-cash offer for PeopleSoft represents the better plan for PeopleSoft shareholders and customers. We remain fully committed to our offer.”

PeopleSoft executives have begun to regard the Oracle bid as a dead issue and have been concentrating their energies on integrating PeopleSoft’s products with those of J. D. Edwards & Co., which PeopleSoft acquired in July.

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