OAKLAND, Calif. -- Judging by a hearing Thursday, the trial over
hostile takeover bid of
will be a testy affair.
In a case-management hearing at the Alameda County Superior Court here, sniping and finger-pointing took center stage. At issue was setting a trial date for PeopleSoft's suit against Oracle, with each side accusing the other of stalling and failing to produce documents. PeopleSoft's suit, filed in mid-June, charges Oracle with unfair trade practices and alleges that Oracle was at least as interested in damaging PeopleSoft's business as it was in consummating the takeover, now valued at $7.7 billion.
Oracle's attorneys argued that the trial shouldn't start for another year, in June 2005. That would be seven months later than the Nov. 1 trial date set by Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw earlier this month.
Oracle attorneys argued that a year is an aggressive schedule for such a complex case, which they said will require 300 interrogatories and 300 deposition requests.
But PeopleSoft attorneys, charging Oracle with stonewalling, noted that the Department of Justice's antitrust suit blocking Oracle's proposed merger is going to trial in June, only three months after it was filed, and that the multiyear DOJ suit against
went forward with only 10 depositions on each side.
The judge said he will issue an order to resolve the dispute, but did not specify when he'd rule.
Shares of Oracle recently were falling 6 cents, or 0.5%, to $11.23, while shares of PeopleSoft were rising 16 cents, or 0.9%, to $17.18.