UK representatives for Oracle and rival PeopleSoft have declined to comment on a report that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) is preparing a possible antitrust challenge to Oracle's takeover bid for PeopleSoft. "Attorneys familiar with the deal" have cited various moves within the DOJ as strong signals that the government agency is readying its case for stopping the proposed merger, according to a report in the online edition of the USA Today newspaper Thursday.
According to several former antitrust enforcers, DOJ lawyers are gathering statements from current and potential PeopleSoft and Oracle customers -- so-called customer declarations -- as evidence in a future trial. Furthermore, the agency has named one of its top antitrust lawyers, Kent Brown to the probe, the report said.
Representatives from the DOJ in Washington, D.C. could not immediately be reached for comment while U.K. representatives of Oracle and PeopleSoft said company policy required them to refer all questions concerning Oracle's US$7.3 billion offer for PeopleSoft to their U.S. head offices in California.
Current and potential buyers of PeopleSoft and Oracle software already thrown into uncertainty due to the takeover bid would face further months of limbo with any DOJ antitrust challenge, which could also ultimately kill the deal, the report said.
According to the newspaper, Oracle antitrust lawyer James Rill dismissed suggestions that the Justice department was preparing to sue.-- IDG News Service
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