PeopleSoft, Oracle plead cases to investors

REDWOOD SHORES, CA, and PLEASANTON, CA: The fight over the future of PeopleSoft has nearly reached its boiling point, as the company and Oracle, which has made a hostile takeover bid for its rival, have taken their arguments directly to the investors.

REDWOOD SHORES, CA, and PLEASANTON, CA: The fight over the future of PeopleSoft has nearly reached its boiling point, as the company and Oracle, which has made a hostile takeover bid for its rival, have taken their arguments directly to the investors.

Last spring, Oracle announced its surprise bid for PeopleSoft just days after PeopleSoft agreed to merge with rival software company JD Edwards. At the time of the bid, many suspected Oracle's aim was to disrupt that merger. Yet despite the fact that the JD Edwards deal was eventually completed, Oracle still hunts its prey.

PeopleSoft shareholders now have to decide whether to sell their stock to Oracle by March 12, the deadline for Oracle's offer. On March 25, PeopleSoft will hold is annual shareholder meeting.

While both firms declined to comment, the media has been rife with reports of PeopleSoft and Oracle directly lobbying investors. Both companies have been meeting with some of PeopleSoft's largest shareholders to make their cases.

Letters mailed to investors reveal how the companies have ramped up their rhetoric.

PeopleSoft's letter largely brushes aside Oracle, asserting the latter company doesn't have the shareholder's interests in mind. The letter primarily focuses on PeopleSoft's recent success, warning that future success and stock value are at stake. It also repeatedly urges investors to sign the white proxy card, which would retain the current board of directors, and to ignore Oracle's blue proxy cards.

Oracle's letter to shareholders largely blasts PeopleSoft's executives and the board of directors for not acting in the best interests of shareholders, whom Oracle calls "the true owners of PeopleSoft." The letter accuses management and the board of selfishly fighting Oracle's bid to protect themselves, and of not having the shareholders' interest at heart.

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