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Oracle buys Peoplesoft for $10.3 billion


Oracle and PeopleSoft have signed a definitive merger agreement worth about $10.3 billion. Oracle is to acquire PeopleSoft at this price at $26.50 per share. This brings to end the bitter and controversial takeover battle that has raged for over 18 months.

PeopleSoft's board eventually agreed to a deal valuing PeopleSoft at $26.50 per share, higher than Oracle's "final bid" of $24. "After careful consideration, we believe this revised offer provides good value for PeopleSoft stockholders and represents a substantial increase in value from October. PeopleSoft is a strong and vibrant company," A. George "Skip" Battle, chairman of PeopleSoft's transaction committee, said in a release.

"This has been a long, emotional struggle, and our employees have consistently performed well under the most challenging of circumstances. The Board salutes our employees for their outstanding dedication to PeopleSoft and is grateful to our customers who have continued to buy our products and stand by us during these uncertain times," Battle said.

There has been concern among PeopleSoft customers that Oracle would no longer continue support for various PeopleSoft applications, including ones acquired from PeopleSoft's purchase of rival software maker J.D. Edwards. But Oracle indicated that it intends to "oversupport" companies using software from PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.

Oracle Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said, "This merger works because we will have more customers, which increases our ability to invest more in applications development and support. We intend to enhance PeopleSoft 8 and develop a PeopleSoft 9 and enhance a JD Edwards 5 and develop a JD Edwards 6. We intend to immediately extend and improve support for existing JD Edwards and PeopleSoft customers worldwide." 

The companies had been scheduled to meet in US Delaware Chancery Court to address PeopleSoft's "poison pill" provision, which was aimed at blocking a hostile takeover attempt. There was active opposition from U.S. Department of Justice on the grounds that it would reduce competition in the ERP (enterprise resource planning) market. But the most ferocious opposition was from the management of PeopleSoft who had insisted the company was not for sale at any price.

Oracle plans to develop a suite of business applications that merges features from the products sold by Oracle, PeopleSoft and the former JD Edwards, which PeopleSoft acquired last year for $1.8 billion. "We will have twice as many customers and be the No. 1 applications vendor in North America and in banking," Ellison said. "We will also be strong in health care and government. And the merger will also give us a strong installed base to sell into." 
The end result is expected to be a major force in the software world and a more viable competitor to market leader SAP.

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