PeopleSoft pushes forward meeting for board vote

PeopleSoft Inc. said Friday it will hold this year’s annual shareholders’ meeting in March, several months earlier than usual, in an effort to limit the effects of Oracle Corp.’s hostile takeover bid and planned attempt to replace a majority of PeopleSoft’s board.

The meeting will take place March 25 in PeopleSoft’s hometown of Pleasanton, Calif. Last year’s meeting was held May 27, several days before PeopleSoft announced its plans to acquire J.D. Edwards & Co. and less than two weeks before Oracle launched its unsolicited acquisition campaign.

PeopleSoft chief executive officer Craig Conway said the meeting will give PeopleSoft shareholders a chance to clearly rebuff Oracle’s takeover attempt by rejecting its nominees.

“The PeopleSoft board unanimously voted to hold its annual meeting on March 25 so that we could put Oracle’s apparent efforts to interfere with our business behind us as soon as possible,” Conway said in a written statement. “PeopleSoft has fought through three quarters of what we believe is Oracle’s attempt to disrupt our business.”

Despite Conway’s proclamation, PeopleSoft’s meeting is unlikely to mark the end of Oracle’s long campaign, under which the company is offering PeopleSoft shareholders US$7.3 billion in cash to tender their shares to Oracle.

Right now, the bid’s fate rests with regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Europe. The European Union recently said it will complete its investigation of the proposed acquisition by April 21. The U.S. Department of Justice, which is also investigating, has not set a timeline for its inquiry.

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