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Oracle won't up ante for PeopleSoft

Oracle Corp. Executive Vice President Charles Phillips told reporters at OracleWorld that Oracle is unwavering in its determination to acquire PeopleSoft and its coveted customers, but the company won't raise its bid.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Oracle Corp. remains optimistic about its chances to acquire PeopleSoft Inc., and it has no plans to raise its $7.5 billion offer, according to Executive Vice President Charles Phillips.

Phillips made his remarks yesterday during an hour-long question-and-answer session with reporters at Oracle's annual U.S. user event, OracleWorld. Peppered with questions about the ongoing federal and state investigations that have begun as a result of Oracle's attempt to take over PeopleSoft, Phillips said Oracle remains unfazed.

Asked whether Phillips and other Oracle executives had any regrets about any of the steps they made along the way, Phillips said the company lamented having let PeopleSoft "bombard" its customers with negative messages before Oracle had a chance to tell its side of the story.

"We would have found the customers a lot sooner," Phillips said. "It has taken us time with town hall meetings, one-on-one meetings and e-mails" to communicate Oracle's intentions to PeopleSoft customers. Phillips said Oracle is confident it has eased the fears of many PeopleSoft customers in recent weeks.

Oracle's attempted takeover of PeopleSoft has spawned criticism from some corners of the IT industry, where Oracle is viewed as a corporate bully. The bid has also prompted the Department of Justice to investigate whether the deal would violate federal antitrust regulations. Oracle's current bid stands at $19.50 a share.

PeopleSoft shares closed Wednesday at $18.43.

Phillips said Oracle would not force PeopleSoft customers to convert to its database, and that its plan not to "wrap sales and marketing expenses around existing PeopleSoft products" should not leave PeopleSoft customers worried their products won't be supported. Indeed, Phillips said, PeopleSoft customers are likely to be better supported by Oracle than by PeopleSoft.

Oracle, he said, "would have more development dollars going into the issues customers care about" because it won't be spending advertising dollars trying to recruit new customers to the PeopleSoft product line.

PeopleSoft recently completed its acquisition of midmarket ERP vendor J.D.Edwards & Co. for $1.7 billion. If Oracle's PeopleSoft takeover succeeds, then Oracle would be faced with complex integration issues associated with maintaining products developed by three distinct companies.

Philips was asked what's motivating Oracle in its quest to acquire PeopleSoft, aside from the coveted customer list he mentioned several times during the press conference. He replied: "Eight hundred million in maintenance revenue is of pretty big interest to us, too."

PeopleSoft plans to argue in court that Oracle's interest lies in disrupting its business.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

PeopleSoft details post-acquisition plan for J.D. Edwards

Oracle appeals to PeopleSoft customers, again

Timeline: Following the acquisitions trail

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