A letter from Larry to Peoplesoft shareholders

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PeopleSoft shareholders are getting a surprise in their mail today - a letter from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison as part of the continuing takeover bid for the rival software firm.

Oracle has mailed a presentation to PeopleSoft shareholders outlining its case for the bid while attacking the defence tactics of PeopleSoft.

"By rejecting our offer, PeopleSoft's directors have sought to deny you - the true owners of PeopleSoft - the opportunity to sell your shares to Oracle for a substantial premium in an all-cash offer", said Ellison in a cover letter.

He also attacks the way PeopleSoft CEO Craig Conway has behaved. "Was Conway representing your interests when he stated 'I could imagine no price or combination of price and other conditions to recommend accepting the offer to our shareholders?" Ellison asks, quoting from an interview in German newspaper Euro am Sonntag last June.

He continues "The pattern of conduct by Mr Conway and his board of directors over the past eight months and their evident lack of concern for stockholder rights have left us with no choice but to take this matter directly to you - the true owners of PeopleSoft".

The letter urges PeopleSoft shareholders to support the deal by tendering their shares before the offer expires on the 12th of March and by voting for a slate of directors nominated by Oracle.

The letter says that this is the final offer. "This is our final price, and we believe it represents a compelling value for all PeopleSoft stockholders, particularly in light of PeopleSoft's recent guidance below consensus Wall Street estimates for its first-quarter revenue and earnings", it claims.

Oracle also addresses the forthcoming ruling on the bid by the US Justice Department, which looks set to go against Oracle. The company argues that the decision is primarily the result of an intense lobbying effort against the deal led by Conway.

Ellison gave another clear sign that he is willing to appeal against an unfavourable decision. "We believe that our offer will ultimately be allowed to proceed," he stated in the shareholder letter.

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