Oracle Re-extends PeopleSoft Bid

Oracle is offering $21 per share or about $7.7 billion for PeopleSoft, a leader in human resources management software and an applications rival of Oracle's.

As of late Thursday, about 21,690,141 shares had been tendered and not withdrawn in the offer, Oracle said in a statement announcing the extension.

The latest offer was to expire this Friday at midnight.

The companies are awaiting the ruling of a U.S. District Court Judge who is weighing arguments by the U.S. Department of Justice that the hostile acquisition would be anticompetitive.

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Closing arguments took place in late July. Some had expected Judge Vaughn Walker's decision this week. Trial watchers say the judge will start a new case next week which they expect to last 15 days. A ruling on the Oracle case is not expected until Labor Day at the earliest.

Oracle launched what has become an epic takeover battle in June 2003, just days after PeopleSoft announced plans to buy J.D. Edwards and its line of midmarket ERP products. At that time Oracle offered $9.4 billion for PeopleSoft, which loudly rebuffed the offer.

Oracle has maintained that a PeopleSoft/Oracle combination would compete with business application companies ranging from Microsoft to SAP in a broadly defined market. PeopleSoft and government lawyers argued that a merger between the two companies would hurt competition in enterprise applications. For continuing coverage, see CRN.

ROCHELLE GARNER contributed to this report.