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Government clears PeopleSoft-JDE deal

Federal authorities have given PeopleSoft the green light to acquire J.D. Edwards, but Oracle isn't giving up on its takeover bid and has extended its deadline for investors.

Immediately following the U.S. Department of Justice's decision to clear PeopleSoft Inc.'s planned acquisition of J.D. Edwards & Co., Oracle Corp. announced it isn't throwing in the towel. Instead, it has extended its tender offer for PeopleSoft and is vowing to complete the takeover -- even if that means acquiring J.D. Edwards too.

"We are extending our offer for PeopleSoft and we remain fully committed to acquiring PeopleSoft, with or without J.D. Edwards," Oracle spokesman Jim Finn said in a release. PeopleSoft investors now have until Aug. 15 to tender their shares. The deal had been set to run out at midnight on Friday.

Oracle extended the deadline after the government paved the way for PeopleSoft to complete its J.D. Edwards merger today by waiving the waiting period required by antitrust law.

In a statement, PeopleSoft said it was prepared to close the J.D. Edwards acquisition as early as Thursday. CEO Craig Conway called the government's early termination decision "great news." It could mean Oracle would be forced to acquire both PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft has forged ahead with its acquisition as it fends off the takeover bid Oracle launched four days after PeopleSoft went public with its plans for J.D. Edwards. PeopleSoft, which originally put forth a $1.7 billion stock offer for J.D. Edwards, later sweetened the deal to $863 million in cash and 52.6 million in newly issued shares.

PeopleSoft plans to use J.D. Edwards midmarket manufacturing expertise to complement its strength in the enterprise services space.

Currently, federal authorities are holding up Oracle, making a second request for information regarding the PeopleSoft deal. It could take months for the government to wrap up its inquiry.

If successful, Oracle has said that it would extend support for PeopleSoft tools but would eventually discontinue its product line.

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