DOJ clears PeopleSoft's JDE buy; Oracle extends offer

DOJ clears PeopleSoft's JDE buy; Oracle extends offer

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended its review of PeopleSoft's planned acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co., clearing the way for the transaction to close later this month.

PeopleSoft chief executive officer, Craig Conway, hailed the DOJ approval as great news. PeopleSoft has been racing to close the acquisition, announced in early June and valued at about $US1.75 billion, ever since Oracle launched a hostile bid to take over PeopleSoft.

PeopleSoft's planned deal with J.D. Edwards, based in Denver, would bring together two of the largest providers of enterprise applications, allowing PeopleSoft to push Oracle aside as the number-two vendor in that market, behind SAP.

When Oracle first launched its bid, days after PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards announced their plans to combine, company executives expressed a preference for buying PeopleSoft before it could swallow J.D. Edwards. But Oracle executives have now responded to news of the DOJ's decision by pledging to complete their takeover plans, even if J.D. Edwards is part of the package.

"We remain fully committed to acquiring PeopleSoft, with or without J.D. Edwards," Oracle spokesman Jim Finn said in a written statement.

Oracle also on extended for the second time the deadline on its tender offer to acquire PeopleSoft shares. Oracle is offering PeopleSoft shareholders $US19.50 in cash, for a total of $US6.3 billion, in exchange for a majority ownership stake in PeopleSoft. The offer's July 18 expiration had been pushed back to August 15, Oracle said.

By the close of business last Friday, 43.8 million shares had been tendered in and not withdrawn from the offer, Oracle said. With 316.6 million shares of PeopleSoft's stock outstanding, that translates to a 13.8 per cent response rate from PeopleSoft's shareholders to Oracle's offer.

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