Canada throws weight behind Oracle/PeopleSoft anti-trust actions

The Canadian regulatory authorities have weighed in to the battle between Oracle and PeopleSoft, giving the software firm another hurdle to jump in its hostile takeover bid.

Oracle has 13 offices and more than 1,000 employees in Canada so the probe is not entirely unexpected. But lined up alongside the US Justice Department, the European Union and a group of US state attorneys general, it adds to the regulatory headache Oracle is now suffering from.

"When we become aware of a transaction like this, we commence our work like we have done in this particular case," said Robert Lancop, assistant deputy commissioner in the Competition Bureau's mergers branch.

Canada's antitrust bureau automatically reviews mergers if the combined companies will have sales equivalent to at least $400 million in imports, exports or within Canada, and if the merger price comes to at least 50 million Canadian dollars (about $35.9 million).

"This was anticipated, as we have been in discussions with local authorities," said an Oracle spokeswoman. "We are cooperating fully and hope this comes to a speedy resolution."

Once a company has filed a pre-merger notification with Canadian antitrust regulators, the merging parties have to wait either 14 days for a response from bureau officials if a short form is used or 42 days if a long form is submitted. Oracle has the option to choose either form.

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