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Oracle to Buy PeopleSoft

PeopleSoft had announced plans to buy J.D. Edwards, CNET News.com announces, but now finds itself contemplating being taken over by Oracle.

Oracle announced a surprise $5.1bn takeover bid for enterprise software maker PeopleSoft, only a few days after PeopleSoft said it was acquiring rival J.D. Edwards for $1.7bn. Oracle is offering $16 per share for each share of PeopleSoft, a roughly 6 percent premium over PeopleSoft's closing price Thursday of $15.11. PeopleSoft representatives say the company had no immediate comment.

Oracle said if it completes the acquisition of PeopleSoft, it would "review whether, and on what terms" it would support the J.D. Edwards deal. The Oracle chief also said that his company "continued to follow PeopleSoft closely" and "thinks the time is right to offer shareholders an alternative plan" to what PeopleSoft's management has presented.

Analysts said the proposed combination of Peoplesoft and J.D. Edwards could increase competitive pressures on Oracle and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market leader SAP.

Separately, Oracle said that it expected to meet or exceed consensus estimates for its fourth fiscal quarter. The company said it should post earnings per share of 14 cents to 15 cents.
Oracle is the world's second largest software maker, posting sales of $9.7bn in 2002. The combination of PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards would create a company with annual revenue of $2.8bn.

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