The US Justice Department may about to deal a death blow to Oracle’s $7.3 billion takeover bid for PeopleSoft with reports that lawyers are preparing a possible antitrust challenge.
Justice lawyers are asking current and potential PeopleSoft and Oracle customers for statements that could be used as evidence at a trial which is being taken as the surest sign to date that such a trial is on the cards. The agency is also know to have named Kent Brown, one of its most senior antitrust lawyers, to the probe.
Antitrust enforcers are concerned a takeover could mean only two business-automation software companies would be bidding for contracts, likely leading to higher prices. Antitrust officials are also considering the possibility that PeopleSoft customers, who paid millions for the software, wouldn't get the necessary upgrades and would be forced to replace it.
The Justice Department has had a mixed record in blocking mergers in court, but failed to follow through on breaking up either IBM or Microsoft.