Kekst and Joele Frank join Oracle vs. PeopleSoft battle

REDWOOD, CA: Oracle's surprise hostile bid for its smaller rival PeopleSoft will pit two of the industry's most prominent financial crisis firms - Kekst & Co. and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher - against each other in what is sure to be one of the most widely watched and reported corporate dramas of the year.

REDWOOD, CA: Oracle's surprise hostile bid for its smaller rival PeopleSoft will pit two of the industry's most prominent financial crisis firms - Kekst & Co. and Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher - against each other in what is sure to be one of the most widely watched and reported corporate dramas of the year.

Software giant Oracle has retained Kekst to help it deal with the media whirlwind surrounding its bid, according to several key sources, while PeopleSoft retained Joele Frank shortly after the surprise bid was announced, according to a PeopleSoft spokesman.

Kekst declined comment, while Joele Frank did not return calls seeking comment.

PeopleSoft also continues to work closely with its longstanding AOR Porter Novelli.

The Oracle bid, which was announced on June 6, threatens to severely hamper PeopleSoft, even if it proves to be ultimately unsuccessful. Oracle has announced that it has no intention of continuing to produce or service PeopleSoft product lines should it acquire its smaller rival. That has put a squeeze on PeopleSoft, which will undoubtedly lose some potential customers while the fate of Oracle's bid is sorted out.

On Thursday, PeopleSoft's board of directors released a statement recommending that shareholders reject the offer, which they termed a "substantial threat to shareholder value."

A third company, J.D. Edwards, which PeopleSoft had stated its intention to acquire just days before the surprise Oracle bid, continues to work with its agency of record, Fleishman-Hillard.

Last week, the company held its annual customer event called Quest Global. It kicked off the gathering with a media event held by the company's CEO and CFO, during which they discussed the ramifications of the Oracle offer. Fleishman largely coordinated that event, according to J.D. Ed-wards director of communications Victor Chayet.

While Oracle's bid is creating problems for PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards, it has opened opportunities for other rival software companies.

Siebel Systems CEO Tom Siebel went on CNBC last week and said his company and German rival SAP stood to gain the most, as many potential clients may be wary of working with Oracle, PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards.

SAP also responded quickly with a marketing campaign aimed at customers of Oracle and PeopleSoft.

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