Oracle has yet again extended its $7.7 billion cash offer for PeopleSoft by two weeks. Shareholders now have until 22 October to tender their shares.
The constant series of extensions is rapidly becoming a farce. The company first made its bid for the company in June this year. Since then it has raised, and lowered its offer, and each time been rejected by PeopleSoft's board. However, it has continually urged shareholders to pledge their shares in the hope of forcing the issue.
This approach appeared to be working and in between a few of the extensions there was 6.5 percent of shares signed up. Since then, though, it has dropped back down to 3.2 percent. The situation is still in flux.
Oracle won its court case against the US Department of Justice (DoJ) in which the US government agency argued that a merging of Oracle and PeopleSoft would adversely affect competition in the ERP software market. And last week, the DoJ announced it would not appeal the decision.
Just prior to that, PeopleSoft fired its CEO, Craig Conway, who was strongly opposed to the "merger". Oracle clearly senses there may be a change in opinion at the top.
At the same time, Oracle looks set to benefit from the retirement of EC Competition Commissioner Mario Monti. Monti is stepping down at the start of November and is known to want to complete the EU decision's on whether Oracle should be allowed to take over PeopleSoft before he heads off. Because of the way the EC works, if Monti wants the issue completed before he leaves, he will basically have to give any merger the thumbs up.
Even if the EC hurdle, the PeopleSoft board hurdle and the shareholder hurdle are overcome, there remains a takeover defence in place - the so-called "poison pill" - by which an aggressive purchase of PeopleSoft would be inordinately expensive. Oracle will soon be in court trying to get the measure overthrown.
It is still up in the air, although the PeopleSoft board's objection has been whittled down to the actual offer, so if Oracle is willing to stump up more money, it is possible that the Board's resistance will crumble and all the other defences with them.
At that point it may be time to consider whether the merger is actually a good idea, or not.