Antitrust division lawyers at the U.S. Justice Department are recommending that the department file suit to block Oracle's acquisition of PeopleSoft, indicating that Oracle may face a serious setback in its embattled bid for its rival.
The Justice Department informed PeopleSoft of the staff's recommendation late Tuesday and said that the agency will make a final ruling no later than March 2, PeopleSoft said. Staff recommendations on antitrust cases usually provide an early indication about which direction the department is likely lean in its final decision.
Oracle spokesman Jim Finn refused to confirm whether the company had any knowledge of a staff decision. "While no decision has yet been made, Oracle believes this merger will eventually be approved," Finn said in a statement.
Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison said months ago that an unfavorable decision from the Justice Department would put an end to the bid for his Pleasanton, Calif., rival. But more recently, Ellison told USA Today that he would be willing to challenge the Justice Department if it ruled against Oracle.
Oracle's $9.4 billion buyout offer hinges on the Justice Department's decision. The department began an extended review of the deal in June after PeopleSoft and several states said the deal was anticompetitive. PeopleSoft and Oracle are the second and third largest suppliers of application software for businesses, respectively. The largest is Germany-based SAP.
News source: CNet News