Oracle Corp. is taking its takeover argument directly to shareholders of PeopleSoft Inc., sending them a letter that lays out its case for the acquisition.
"By rejecting our offer, PeopleSoft's directors have sought to deny you -- the true owners of PeopleSoft -- the opportunity to sell your shares to Oracle for a substantial premium in an all-cash offer," the letter reads. It's signed by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and chairman and chief financial officer Jeff Henley.
The letter goes on to criticize PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway and the Pleasanton, Calif.-based company's board of directors for refusing to meet with Oracle, invoking a "poison pill" that would jack up the cost of the acquisition and devising "schemes to further entrench and enrich themselves at [shareholder] expense."
It urges stockholders to tender their shares and elect the five Oracle-supported candidates to the PeopleSoft board. Oracle has proposed expanding the size of PeopleSoft's board from eight members to nine. Investors are scheduled to meet on March 25.
There was no immediate response from PeopleSoft, which has resisted Oracle's takeover attempts for the past eight months.
Oracle has said its $26 per share proposal, which expires March 12, is its "final offer." However, even if shareholders back the takeover, antitrust authorities appear likely to oppose it.
Last week staffers at the U.S. Department of Justice recommended that the agency file suit to block the acquisition. A final ruling is expected next month, and European regulators are due to weigh in by May.
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