Oracle sweetens PeopleSoft offer

Oracle Corp. officials increased their per-share offer for PeopleSoft Inc. stock to $24 from $21.

The increase brings Oracle's total offer to $9.2 billion from $7.95 billion, said a spokesperson for the company. The latest offer expires at midnight on Nov. 19.

Oracle, the largest maker of relational databases, has been trying to acquire PeopleSoft for more than a year. The purchase of PeopleSoft would eliminate one of Oracle's rivals in business applications software.

Officials at PeopleSoft issued a statement urging shareholders to take no action on the offer and promised that the company's board would review the offer and make a formal recommendation to the stockholders. A recent reorganization of PeopleSoft's resulted in ousting Chief Executive Officer Craig Conway, who had been one of the most vocal opponents of a proposed Oracle takeover.

PeopleSoft rejected Oracle's previous offers, including one of $26 per share, four times, each time recommending that stockholders not tender their shares.

Oracle officials report that more than 20 million of PeopleSoft's total 383 million outstanding shares have been tendered so far. Oracle officials began pursuing PeopleSoft in June 2003.

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