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Oracle extends PeopleSoft offer deadline

The database company extends the deadline for tendering shares in its hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

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Oracle has extended the deadline for tendering shares in its hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft.

The move, which was expected, pushes the deadline from Monday to midnight July 18. It marks the latest setback for the database giant and its hostile $6.3 billion bid for PeopleSoft.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a second request for information, as part of an antitrust review of Oracle's proposed merger. As a result, Oracle postponed its July 16 hearing to address its lawsuit against PeopleSoft, in which it seeks to remove PeopleSoft's "poison pill" and halt its competitor's plans to acquire J.D. Edwards.

As of Thursday, 34.7 million PeopleSoft shares had been tendered to Oracle, the Oracle said.

"That's less than 11 percent of our shares, and that's obviously low. We're pleased that a great majority of our shareholders have agreed to stay with PeopleSoft," said Steve Swasey, a PeopleSoft spokesman. He declined to comment on Oracle's extension.

Companies launching hostile takeover bids frequently extend the deadline for tendering shares until they collect more than 50 percent of the outstanding shares of the target company.

If the target company has a "poison pill" in place, as does PeopleSoft, the unwanted suitor can use the tendered shares as leverage to pressure the takeover target to remove its poison pill. A poison pill, or shareholder rights plan, is intended to make it prohibitive to buy a controlling stake in the target company.

Oracle, which launched its hostile bid in early June at $16 a share, later increased its offer to $19.50 per share.

However, despite Oracle raising its bid, many shareholders have been keeping their distance. PeopleSoft's shares are trading below Oracle's increased bid, as investors remain skeptical the deal will be completed.

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