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Oracle ups 'final' offer

Oracle today raised its bid to acquire PeopleSoft, and call the offer its "best and final" one.

Oracle Corp. raised its bid today to $24 per share in its long-running takeover attempt of PeopleSoft Inc., and threatened to withdraw the offer if a majority of shares aren't tendered by Nov. 19.

"The offer has been outstanding for an extraordinary 17 months," said Oracle chairman of the board Jeffrey O. Henley during a conference call this morning. "To date, the PeopleSoft board of directors has been the sole obstacle. We think the time has come for PeopleSoft shareholders to decide the outcome."

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PeopleSoft's board of directors has recommended that shareholders take no action, and the board will consider the offer and make a recommendation. Up until now, PeopleSoft's board has urged shareholders to reject every offer from Oracle.

"Our best and final offer is $24 per share, which we believe represents a substantial premium to the price at which those shares would trade were it not for Oracle's offer," Henley said in a release.

If a majority of shares are tendered by the Nov. 19 deadline and the PeopleSoft board has not removed a "poison pill" provision -- which would dilute the number of shares and drive up the price of the takeover -- Oracle will "look to the Delaware Chancery Court to take appropriate action," Oracle said.

The move comes almost a week after the European Commission, the antitrust regulatory agency for the European Union, ruled that Oracle could go forward with its takeover attempt. Today's offer places the cost of the takeover at $9.2 billion.

PeopleSoft shares rose to $23 in premarket trading.

In a letter to PeopleSoft shareholders, Oracle's Henley pledged to continue support for PeopleSoft products and said the firm intends to develop and introduce PeopleSoft 9, the next generation of the company's software.

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