Applications

EC suspends Oracle decision

European antitrust regulators put their decision on challenging Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft on ice pending additional information from the database maker.

European antitrust regulators announced Monday that their decision on whether to challenge Oracle's hostile bid for PeopleSoft has been suspended until the database maker provides additional information.

Oracle was expected to be informed by March 30 about whether the European Commission would block its takeover bid for competitor PeopleSoft. But the commission said it has "stopped the clock" until Oracle provides requested additional information.

"In the past few weeks, we sent a request to Oracle for the information and asked them to provide it by a certain deadline. They missed the deadline, so we are making a formal notice that we have stopped the clock until we get the information we requested," said Amelia Torres, spokeswoman for the commission.

Once the commission receives the information, it will add the number of days it took Oracle to supply the requested information to the March 30 date. For example, if seven days pass before Oracle submits the requested information, then the new deadline would be April 6.

Companies have occasionally missed the informal deadline for information and have had their deadlines suspended, said Torres. She cited several cases where this has occurred and noted the deals were not ultimately blocked.

In most cases, the information requested has been provided to the commission within approximately 45 days, she noted, adding that it has never gone beyond six months.

"It is fair to say that it usually takes weeks to comply with the formal request," she noted.

The European Commission announced in November that it would begin an "in-depth" second phase to review the merger. At the time, the commission had noted it would make a decision by March 30.

When the European Commission extended its review, it noted it would focus its attention on the potential effect the transaction would have on large multinational companies that use business applications software for financial planning and human resources. European antitrust regulators were also concerned that the number of major vendors would be reduced to two from three if the merger went through.

Oracle declined to comment on the European Commission's decision to suspend its merger review.

Oracle has previously said it expects to have a final decision from the U.S. Department of Justice by early March.