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EU Delays Review of Oracle-PeopleSoft Bid

April 15, 2004

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European antitrust regulators suspended for a second time their review of Oracle Corp.’s hostile $9.4 billion takeover bid for business software rival PeopleSoft Inc. while it waits for more information.

``We are missing relevant information ... on the market position of Oracle in the human resource and financial management software,″ Tilman Lueder, spokesman for the European Commission, said Thursday.

He noted that Oracle itself argued the information was crucial during its recent closed-door hearing, but did not deliver it by the April 12 deadline.

The European Commission, which notified the companies about its objections to the deal last month, was due to decide on the issue May 11. No new deadline has been set.

In February, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in February to block Oracle’s bid for PeopleSoft contending that the proposed merger would hurt the business applications software market.

The U.S. regulators contend an Oracle takeover would cause prices to rise and innovation to diminish in the $20 billion market for business applications software _ the computer coding that automates a wide range of administrative jobs.

This argument is based largely on the premise that the market would narrowed from three major rivals to two _ the current leader, Germany’s SAP, and Oracle.

But Oracle says antitrust regulators are ignoring significant competition from dozens of specialty software makers, as well as a mounting threat from Microsoft Corp., which has been expanding its offerings to include business applications software.


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