European Commission confirms four month probe into Oracle's PeopleSoft bid

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As expected, the European Commission has opened a more in-depth investigation into whether Oracle’s hostile $7.3 billion bid for PeopleSoft would create a company that would dominate markets in Europe.

The commission said it was launching a four month long inquiry that will analyse the business software market in detail. "The initial one month investigation has shown that the combination of two of the largest competitors in the market merits further analysis, especially as the number of key players would be reduced from three to two - Oracle and SAP - in certain applications software markets," the commission said.

PeopleSoft said in a statement: "The European Commission's decision reflects what we believe is the commission's concern about the anti-competitive impact of Oracle's unsolicited tender offer on the industry."

The commission's four-month investigation should end in March, while the Justice Department's examination is expected to conclude in January or February. If the Justice Department comes out against the bid, the EC’s conclusions will be largely irrelevant.

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