January 7, 2005 7:55 AM PST

Oracle takeover: It's a wrap

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Oracle is closing its PeopleSoft acquisition on Friday, after receiving more than 97 percent of PeopleSoft shares in its tender offer.

The announcement, made late Thursday, brings to an end the controversial 18-month takeover battle, which pitted two of the largest sellers of business software applications against each other and extended far beyond the usual fight over customers.

The buy is expected to make Oracle a more powerful competitor to major rivals, including IBM, Microsoft and SAP.

Oracle, which set a deadline of Thursday evening for PeopleSoft investors to tender their shares, was able to meet the 90 percent threshold to do a fast-track close on the deal and avoid a shareholder vote. A vote would have delayed closing the deal by four to six weeks.

Although such a vote would have delayed the formal close, Oracle had already won a controlling stake in the software rival last week, when investors tendered 75 percent of their shares ahead of the initial Dec. 28 deadline. Oracle extended the deadline twice to gather additional shares and speed the deal along.

PeopleSoft will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Oracle, and the database giant will notify PeopleSoft employees on Jan. 14 whether they will remain or be terminated.

Oracle has already replaced some PeopleSoft executives with its own managers and has begun restructuring its own ranks. Prudential Equity Group reported in a research note on Thursday that Oracle has reorganized its own applications unit, firing many managers in that group.

During courtroom testimony in the parties' Delaware Chancery Court trial this past summer, Oracle indicated that it may lay off as many as 6,000 PeopleSoft employees.

Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, however, said last month in an announcement that the two companies had entered a friendly deal and that Oracle expected to retain some of the PeopleSoft sales staff, as well as some senior engineers.

Oracle plans a Jan. 18 Webcast to introduce the newly combined company and discuss its integration plans.

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An alternative to Larry: PostgreSQL!
I've never been a Larry fan. This kind of activity just reinforces my low opinion of the... man (biologically speaking). Looking on the bright side, PostgreSQL 8 RTM is right around the corner! And, I'll bet I can find 5,000 or so really talented people to help guide an open-source PeopleSoft alternative.
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