Oracle: PeopleSoft to reject its "final" offer

Von Ken Mingis

Oracle Corp. said late Wednesday that PeopleSoft Inc."s board of directors will reject its latest US$24-per-share "best and final offer" in its ongoing takeover bid for the company, leaving the fate of its plans in the hands of PeopleSoft"s shareholders.

Oracle"s offer, valued at $8.8 billion, expires on Nov. 19, meaning that unless shareholders tender their shares by next week, the long-running fight could soon be over.

Oracle launched its takeover attempt in June 2003 and at one point was offering as much as $26 per share, a price PeopleSoft"s board also rejected.

"After receiving an affirmative clearance decision from the European Commission, we submitted our best and final offer to the PeopleSoft board," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "Oracle"s board deliberated and concluded that the absolute maximum amount we were prepared to pay was $24 dollars a share. Beyond that, there are better uses of our capital, including other acquisitions and repurchasing our own shares.

"Oracle has been at this for a year and a half, and it is now time to bring this matter to a close. On Nov. 19, we will respect the will of the shareholders," he concluded.

"PeopleSoft"s shareholders now face a very simple decision," said Jeff Henley, Oracle"s chairman of the board. "They can accept our all-cash $24-per-share offer ... or it will be withdrawn. We believe our offer represents a substantial premium over PeopleSoft"s stand-alone value now or in the foreseeable future."