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The antitrust review of


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hostile takeover bid for rival



could be complete by late November, wire services reported Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters in Singapore, Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips said the company is providing information in response to a second request from the Department of Justice on markets and the competitive landscape.

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"We're still gathering that information. It'll take a while, and after we comply with that second request, they have another 30 days to review it," Phillips was quoted saying. "Our best guess is that it will all conclude in the late November time-frame."

Many analysts believe the Justice Department will decide that Oracle's hostile takeover, now priced at $19.50 a share, would not be anticompetitive, in part because the combined company still would be smaller than German behemoth


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In addition to the antitrust examination, numerous lawsuits over the takeover effort also are pending. PeopleSoft has sued Oracle in California for unfair trade practices, and Oracle is asking a Delaware court to force PeopleSoft's management and board to drop its so-called poison pill defense and negotiate with Oracle, something the company has refused to do from the beginning. Other suits have been filed by shareholders and the state of Connecticut.

And in a signal that the saga is likely to drag on for some time, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has said he is prepared to wait for PeopleSoft's next shareholder meeting in the spring of 2004 to wage a proxy fight.

Shares of Oracle were down 7 cents, or 0.6%, at $12.08 in recent trading. PeopleSoft was off a penny at $16.90.