Updated from 2:40 p.m. EST
said Monday that it is committed to its hostile $7.25 billion bid to take over
and will launch a fight to gain control of its rival's board of directors.
"Let us be clear: We remain committed to our effort to acquire PeopleSoft. There is no merit to the idea that the deal is dead," said Oracle Executive Vice President Charles Phillips. He made the statements in a conference call that the database giant organized to quash speculation that it's pulling the plug on the offer.
Although many on the Street expect Oracle to up the ante, Phillips reiterated earlier statements that his company is not willing to pay too much for PeopleSoft and is considering other acquisitions.
There was one bit of news in the surprise call: Oracle will run a slate of directors for PeopleSoft's board of directors. However, because PeopleSoft's board was expanded to eight members following the company's acquisition of
, Oracle couldn't gain voting control of the board even if it were to win all four of the seats that will be contested in 2004.
Oracle will need to put its slate together before the end of January. That's because PeopleSoft earlier this month moved back the deadline for nominating a slate from a minimum of 20 days to 120 days.
Oracle also used the call to repeat its contention that PeopleSoft's financial results aren't nearly as good as they appear.
Jeff Henley, Oracle's chief financial officer, said PeopleSoft improperly booked about $156 million in revenue tied to a controversial provision in PeopleSoft's Customer Assurance Program, which promises to rebate two to five times the cost of software purchases if PeopleSoft is taken over. Since the money might have to be refunded, he argued, it should be recognized later. "From what we've read, at least, we believe they have a revenue recognition problem," Henley said.
A PeopleSoft spokesman said, "We are confident that the revenue related to these contracts was recognized appropriately."
Oracle, as well as some financial analysts, also has criticized other PeopleSoft accounting practices, saying that the company's refusal to clarify growth derived internally and growth derived from the J.D. Edwards acquisition, makes its financial results untrustworthy.
Safra Catz, an Oracle Executive vice president, said she doesn't expect the Justice Department to rule on the proposed acquisition until early 2004, but she is confident that the takeover will be approved.
Oracle ended the day up 17 cents, or 1.4%, at $12.05, while PeopleSoft gained $1.08. or 5%, to $21.76, well above Oracle's $19.50 a share offer.