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European ruling on Oracle shifts to June

Antitrust regulators aren't expected to make a final decision on Oracle's $9.4 billion takeover bid for PeopleSoft until at least mid-June.

European antitrust regulators aren't expected make a final decision on Oracle's $9.4 billion takeover bid for PeopleSoft until at least mid-June.

The European Commission had previously planned to reach a decision by May 11 but is now waiting for additional documents from the software maker.

Oracle anticipates turning over the first wave of additional documents to European regulators within a week or so, according to a company representative. As a result, the European Commission's final decision on Oracle's bid will not happen until at least mid-June--about the same time that U.S. courts will hear a challenge to the deal from antitrust regulators.

Last month, the European Commission put off issuing a final decision because it decided to wait for additional information from Oracle.

The commission, which serves as the antitrust agency for the European Union, had faced a May 11 deadline to reach a decision. But now, each European business day that passes since the commission stopped the clock on April 14 will be added to the earlier May deadline, said Amelia Torres, a commission spokeswoman.

"As soon as the information is provided, we will restart the review," Torres said.

If Oracle were to submit all requested documents on Wednesday, for example, the commission's new provisional deadline would be June 2. But a source at the software maker said the first wave of documents is not expected to begin for another week or so, pushing back the provisional deadline to mid-June at the earliest.

Oracle faces an antitrust trial in U.S. District Court of Northern California starting June 7. The Department of Justice filed suit to try to block Oracle's hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

The European Commission and Justice Department both carry the power to effectively kill a merger deal. The commission did so with the proposed deal between General Electric and Honeywell, and the Justice Department did so with the Microsoft-Intuit merger.

Oracle previously told the commission during oral hearings in late March and early April that it had new market data on finance and human resources software. Those were two areas of concern that the commission cited when it issued its preliminary objection to the deal.

The company is gathering information on bidding data in those areas, the representative said.

Oracle is doing the same in the Justice Department case, as advised by the court. The department had sought information on the bids previously, during its investigation, but didn't receive all of the requested information, regulators said at the time.