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sweeter bid to buy rival software maker



wasn't sweet enough for the Pleasanton, Calif., software vendor.

The company's board on Friday rejected Oracle's latest bid -- $19.50 a share -- and said PeopleSoft is pushing ahead with its own friendly plan to acquire

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In a prepared statement, the company said: "The offer is not in the best interest of the Company's stockholders. The Board concluded that the proposed combination of PeopleSoft and Oracle faces substantial regulatory delays and a significant likelihood that the transaction would be prohibited.

"Those delays and uncertainties, combined with Oracle'sstated intentions to discontinue PeopleSoft's products, would subjectPeopleSoft's business to irreparable damage."

An Oracle spokesman responded quickly, saying; "Once again, PeopleSoft's board has put management's interests first, ignoring the mounting demands of its shareholders to redeem the poison pill and meet with Oracle."

The database giant raised its initial bid of $16 a share earlier this week, after a series of meetings with PeopleSoft shareholders.

PeopleSoft management has vociferously opposed the takeover, and it isn't clear if an even-better offer would persuade them to play ball.