Oracle gets a run for its money

When news of Oracle's bid to take over PeopleSoft broke in June, it seemed like a story reminiscent of the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life."

Giant, wealthy Oracle -- driven by its billionaire Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison -- wanted to swallow up PeopleSoft and fire most of its 8,000 employees. The deal also threatened to knock out one of Pleasanton's biggest corporations, and it left PeopleSoft customers fearing that they wouldn't be taken care of by the company's new owner.

When PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway called Oracle's hostile bid "atrociously bad behavior from a company with a history of atrociously bad behavior," you could almost hear the Jimmy Stewart in his voice. Meanwhile, Oracle's Ellison was looking like a dead ringer for Mr. Potter.

But as the year wore on and the battle between the two companies intensified, the storyline took some unexpected turns. PeopleSoft's equally hostile reaction to the merger led some of its shareholders to sue the company, claiming that the softwaremaker wasn't giving Oracle's $7.3 billion bid the consideration it was due. At the same time, Oracle was softening its stance, saying the deal wouldn't be as traumatic for PeopleSoft's customers as first believed.

It became increasingly difficult to recognize who was the good guy and who was the bad guy anymore.

News source: SF Gates - Oracle gets a run for its money

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