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Lawson cooks up 'poison pill'

The business software maker adopts a shareholder rights plan to encourage takeover candidates to deal with its board.

Lawson Software has adopted a shareholder rights plan, the St. Paul, Minn., company said on Wednesday. Such plans, commonly referred to as a "poison pill," are designed to help companies fend off hostile takeovers by allowing them to automatically issue new shares if any outsider acquires a certain level of stake. In Lawson's case, the plan's trigger is 15 percent or more of the company's outstanding common stock, the company said.

Lawson did not adopt the plan in response to any particular buyout proposal, but wanted to encourage anyone seeking to acquire the company to negotiate with the board of directors, CEO Jay Coughlan said in a statement. Oracle recently disclosed that it had considered buying Lawson before it launched a hostile bid for PeopleSoft last year. All three companies make application software that helps businesses process orders, update employee records and manage finances.