25 November 2003 Oracle is preparing to put forward four candidates for election to PeopleSoft’s board, opening up a new front in its $7.3 billion hostile bid for control of the applications software company.
In an analyst briefing designed to reaffirm its commitment to the proposed takeover, Oracle executives said the database company would announce in January its nominees for the four of the eight PeopleSoft board seats that are up for re-election later in 2004.
If successful, the Oracle move would aid its plans to overturn the anti-takeover measures that the current board has put in place, including a customer refund programme that kicks in if Oracle takes over and then cuts back on the development of PeopleSoft products.
Among the PeopleSoft directors who come up for re-election are Dave Duffield, the company’s co-founder and former CEO; Aneel Bhusri, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former PeopleSoft marketing chief; and Steven Goldby, the CEO of Symyx Technologies, a specialist in materials science.
Meanwhile, Oracle executives played down further delays in the consideration of the deal by the US Department of Justice.
Although Oracle had expected a decision on whether the acquisition would be blocked on anti-competitive grounds some time in late November or early December, the company’s executives now say the decision is not likely until early 2004.
Last week the European Commission said it was extending the scope of its investigation into the proposed acqusition, making any decision unlikely until March 2004.