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EU Has Trouble Swallowing Oracle-PeopleSoft Merger

EU Has Trouble Swallowing Oracle-PeopleSoft Merger

If, as PeopleSoft claimed, Oracle's real reason behind its hostile takeover attempt was just to discombobulate PeopleSoft, then the Europeans have handed Oracle another excuse to gracefully abandon the field.

The European Union, like the Justice Department before it, is objecting to any merger.

By statute the EU has to make a final decision by May 11, a month give or take before the DOJ and Oracle meet in court on June 7.

Apparently, if Oracle comes up with a better argument than anything it's offered so far, it could still get Europe's clearance.

Meanwhile, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the proxy service whose profile was raised when Walter Hewlitt challenged HP's acquisition of Compaq, recommended that PeopleSoft shareholders vote to confirm the PeopleSoft board.

It said it considered siding with Oracle because PeopleSoft's money-back guarantee to customers if Oracle took over was over-the-top, but then so was Oracle when it said it was going to terminate PeopleSoft's products when it made its first bid so ISS figured one move canceled out the other and sided with PeopleSoft.

In the run-up to the trial, Oracle, however reluctantly, agreed to turn over its discount schedules to the DOJ, which wants them to show how deeply Oracle discounts in a competitive situation and Microsoft, which Oracle claims should be considered a competitive factor, has turned over something like 20,000 page of confidential internal documents to the Justice Department that have been put under seal to keep them away from Oracle. Microsoft, which is looking to the court to increase the protective order, has contradicted Oracle and said it won't be in the race for another two years.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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