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PeopleSoft buyout liability nears $2 billion

The company's get-out-of-hostile-takeover card, played via a money-back guarantee to customers, could hike the cost of Oracle's proposed $9.4 billion bid.

Software maker PeopleSoft reported on Monday that anyone that tries to buy the company could be on the hook for nearly $2 billion in payouts to its customers. That estimate was based on sales through March 31, the company said. PeopleSoft created the liability by including a money-back guarantee clause in many of its customer contracts over the past year. It began the so-called customer assurance program as part of its defense against a $9.4 billion hostile takeover bid launched by Oracle last June.

Although the U.S. antitrust regulators are suing Oracle to block the merger, PeopleSoft has continued the guarantee program, which is set to expire June 30.