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Oracle stretches deadline to speed PeopleSoft buy

Falling just short of the 90 percent stake needed to expedite the deal, Oracle gives investors two more days to tender shares.

Alorie Gilbert Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Alorie Gilbert
writes about software, spy chips and the high-tech workplace.
Alorie Gilbert
Seeking to bring its $10.3 billion buyout of PeopleSoft to a swift close, Oracle is giving PeopleSoft investors two days to tender at least 90 percent of their shares.

On Tuesday evening, when the tender offer period was set to expire, Oracle fell just shy of its goal, collecting 89.4 percent of PeopleSoft's stock. Although Oracle already has a controlling stake in the firm, a 90 percent stake would let it close the merger without a special shareholder vote. A vote could add four to six weeks to the process.

Oracle has extended the deadline to Thursday at 5 p.m. PST.

This final step is a mere formality in the prolonged hostile merger saga. Oracle's big victory came last month, when PeopleSoft's management accepted a sweetened offer after 18 months of resistance.

The megamerger is expected to make Oracle, which specializes in business efficiency software, a more powerful competitor to major rivals, including IBM, Microsoft and SAP.

Still, Oracle would like to have the deal signed, sealed and delivered by Jan. 18, the day it plans to launch the combined company with an executive Webcast from its headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif. On Jan. 14, Oracle plans to announce staff cuts and to notify employees of their termination as a result of the merger. Oracle may lay off as many as 6,000 workers, according to its initial estimates.