US authorities discuss Oracle bid

CIOL Bureau
New Update

NEW YORK: Representatives of the attorneys general of several U.S. states plan to discuss on Tuesday their concerns about Oracle Corp.'s hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc., a spokesman for the California attorney general has said.


The conference call among the states will come a week after the state of Connecticut sued Oracle on antitrust grounds to try to stop the $6.3 billion hostile takeover.

Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said a representative of his state would participate in the call in part because state agencies were heavy users of PeopleSoft systems. But he stressed that California did not currently intend to take action to stop the deal.

'We have no plans to intervene at this time,' Dresslar said. 'We're monitoring developments and gathering information, trying to see what the potential effects of a takeover would be on government agencies in California.' The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the conference call would also include Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. A representative of Abbott did not immediately return a call for comment. PeopleSoft rejected a sweetened $6.3 billion hostile bid from Oracle Corp on Friday, saying it was too low.

The two companies have been engaged in a bitter exchange since June 6, when Oracle offered to buy PeopleSoft for $5.1 billion. PeopleSoft responded days later by accelerating and adding cash to its own $1.75 billion bid for smaller software maker J.D. Edwards & Co. in a move widely seen as a tactic to thwart Oracle.

PeopleSoft argued that a merger of the two companies could face substantial regulatory delays and 'a significant likelihood' of ultimately being blocked as a restraint on competition. Some PeopleSoft customers have opposed the Oracle bid, fearing they will be forced to adopt unsuitable Oracle products. These customers include the state of Connecticut, which is in the midst of a $100 million project to update its computer systems with PeopleSoft products. It said an Oracle takeover of PeopleSoft would cost it 'tens of millions of dollars' and asked a judge to block the deal, citing antitrust law.