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Oracle lawsuit hearing postponed

Oracle postpones a hearing on its lawsuit against PeopleSoft, a day after federal regulators requested additional information to review the hostile takeover bid.

Oracle postponed a hearing on its lawsuit against PeopleSoft, the company said Tuesday, a day after federal antitrust regulators requested additional information to review the database maker's hostile takeover bid for its competitor.

Oracle, which initially filed the lawsuit to prevent PeopleSoft's acquisition of J.D. Edwards under its amended terms and to remove its "poison pill," said the parties agreed to meet with the court on July 25 to consider how to proceed, in light of the new developments with the U.S. Department of Justice. The Delaware Chancery Court hearing was originally set for July 16--a day before the deadline for J.D. Edwards investors to tender their shares to PeopleSoft.

"This is simply a postponement of the hearing date, which made sense to all parties given the second request Oracle received from the Department of Justice yesterday and the longer timetable it implies," said Jim Finn, an Oracle spokesman, in a statement. "Oracle continues to maintain that PeopleSoft and its board have breached their fiduciary duties to PeopleSoft shareholders, and Oracle will continue to seek redemption of the PeopleSoft "poison pill."

PeopleSoft's "poison pill," or shareholder rights plan, is an anti-takeover measure designed to make it cost-prohibitive for another company to acquire PeopleSoft. Oracle can either seek to remove the "poison pill" through legal means or by convincing PeopleSoft's board to remove the anti-takeover measure.

Oracle's announcement marks the first public statement in which the three companies have reached a mutual agreement. But don't confuse this mutual agreement for any sign that the parties are sitting at the table hashing out a potential deal, PeopleSoft representatives said.

"We have not entered into any (buyout) talks with them," a PeopleSoft spokeswoman said.

In the meantime, the Justice Department on Monday issued its second request for information on Oracle's proposed buyout of PeopleSoft. Lawyers who handle antitrust cases say it may take Oracle anywhere from a week to several months to gather the requested materials, depending on the amount of people it puts on the project.