PeopleSoft might consider Oracle bid

By : |October 5, 2004 0

SAN FRANCISCO: A PeopleSoft Inc. board member told a Delaware court that the software maker would consider a bid from its rival Oracle Corp. provided the price was right and a deal closed quickly.

PeopleSoft director, Steven Goldby’s testimony marked the latest twist in Oracle’s $7.7 billion hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft and raises the possibility the company could be close to ending its 16-month long battle to block the deal.

“If there’s an indication that they would pay what we consider to be the right price, and there’s a possibility that we could close the transaction quickly, I’m open to discussions with Oracle,” PeopleSoft director, Steven Goldby said in court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Goldby was testifying in a trial over Oracle’s lawsuit seeking to overturn a PeopleSoft “poison pill” designed to thwart a hostile takeover.

Goldby also testified earlier this week that the board fired former PeopleSoft chief executive Craig Conway last week in part over his vow to never sell the company to Oracle.

PeopleSoft spokesman Steve Swasey confirmed Goldby’s testimony and noted the board had so far rejected all four Oracle bids because they undervalued the company.

Oracle launched its surprise takeover bid in June 2003, originally offering $16 a share. In February, it sweetened the offer to $26 a share, before cutting it back to $21 a share in May due to a decline in PeopleSoft’s stock.

Swasey said it was the board’s responsibility to talk with any suitors who come forward with the right price and a deal that could close quickly.

“There is nothing new here,” Swasey said. “The only difference is this is the first time a board member has spoken publicly about it.”

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