PeopleSoft CEO blasts Oracle offer

The chief executive officer of PeopleSoft Inc., a software developer and significant government contractor, blasted competitor Oracle Corp. in a statement June 6 for making a hostile takeover bid just as PeopleSoft is set to buy J.D. Edwards Inc., a mid-market enterprise application developer.

Craig Conway, PeopleSoft's president and CEO, called Oracle's $5.1 billion offer "atrociously bad behavior from a company with a history of atrociously bad behavior" in a written statement. Oracle is trying to disrupt PeopleSoft's own acquisition strategy, Conway said.

Conway urged the company's shareholders to take no immediate action. A PeopleSoft spokesperson said the company has not yet received Oracle's formal offer. Once it does, the board will review it and make a recommendation to shareholders, the spokesperson said.

Oracle is offering a little more than $16 a share. The company's shares were trading at almost $18 on the market this morning.

In a way, Oracle wins whether it ultimately buys PeopleSoft or not, according to analysis firm the META Group Inc. By merely making the offer, Oracle has sent a ripple of anxiety through the company's shareholders, made prospective new customers put plans on hold pending the outcome of the offer, and leaves itself a "back door" to walk away from the table rather than increase its offer, according to the META Group report.

If the deal goes through, PeopleSoft customers will eventually have to migrate to Oracle, which could be difficult because of the different technologies the two companies use, according to the report.

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