suffered another defeat in its war for independence Tuesday when the European Commission refused to block a hostile takeover offer from


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Europe's decision to walk away from the 17-month-old takeover drama follows a federal court's decision to overturn Justice Department efforts to block the $7.7 billion offer.

The EC's reasoning was similar to the U.S. court's, finding "an absence of sufficient evidence of competitive harm" since software buyers "have other suppliers to serve their needs beside Oracle, PeopleSoft and


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PeopleSoft said it would review the decision, although it repeated its opposition to Oracle's offer.

"PeopleSoft's board has carefully considered and unanimously rejected each of Oracle's offers, including its current offer of $21 per share," the company said in a statement. "On May 25, 2004, the board concluded that the current offer was inadequate and did not reflect PeopleSoft's real value."

PeopleSoft shares were recently up 22 cents, or 1.1%, to $19.98. Oracle was up 9 cents, or 0.7%, to $12.22.