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EU set to decide on Oracle next week

European Commission is set to announce whether it will block the database giant's hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

European antitrust regulators are set to announce Tuesday whether they will block Oracle's hostile takeover bid for rival PeopleSoft.

The pending decision by the European Commission--the executive arm of the European Union--marks the last regulatory hurdle Oracle faces in moving forward with its $7.7 billion bid. The Commission, which will convene in Strasbourg, France, at 1 p.m. local time, will make its decision during its regularly scheduled weekly meeting, a representative said Friday.

Many industry observers, as well as lawyers specializing in European antitrust matters, say the Commission will likely allow the takeover bid to proceed. They point to a recent decision in U.S. District Court, which ruled in favor of the deal despite efforts by the Justice Department to block the proposed merger. U.S. and European regulators have been evaluating similar key issues.

Mario Monti, the EU's outgoing competition commissioner, had previously announced the Commission was planning to make a decision in the matter before the end of this month. On Oct. 31, the five-year term of the Commission and Monti will expire, and a new set of commissioners will take over.

"The timing of the decision will be within the time frame that (Monti) had previously said," said Amelia Torres, a Commission spokeswoman.

She added that she does not know how long Tuesday's meeting will last and that there are other issues the Commission will also be considering. The European Commission does not make its weekly agenda public, Torres said.

Oracle currently has a cash tender offer of $21 a share for PeopleSoft. During early morning trading, PeopleSoft shares were down 7 cents at $20.36.