This week could mark another milestone in the Oracle-PeopleSoft hostile takeover saga,
which has been running for about a year and a half now.
Oracle has said that if at least 50% of PeopleSoft shares are not tendered
by the end of this week, it will abandon its attempt to buy PeopleSoft.
Do we have any reason to trust what Oracle is saying? Well, it has informed
the judge in the Delaware case that the current $24 offer is its best and
final offer. Also, in rather calm tones, Oracle executives have
been telling the press that they are ready to put an end to this and move on to other
targets. Even Larry
Ellison has said that he would respect the will of the shareholders if they
decide not to sell. It might actually be true.
Even if Oracle decides to increase the offer price, the three (by my count) poison
pills are still in place. Can PeopleSoft's board resist the pressure to drop
them? Is it even possible to drop them? The main poison pill (the extra shares
that would be issued, making it more expensive to acquire the company)
could be dropped by the board. But what about the new severance
promises to employees and the agreements with customers to refund their money
if Oracle does not adequately support the product? Oracle has asked for a delay in
the ruling in the Delaware case until after this week. Is that further evidence
that this really could be the end if enough shares are not tendered? I hope so.