The Oracle Corp hostile takeover bid for PeopleSoft, its rival in the market for business software, took an unusual turn on Tuesday when a PeopleSoft director testified in a Delaware courtroom that he would be open to discussions about a merger. \nSteven Goldby, who heads the PeopleSoft board's transaction committee, which is charged with considering Oracle's US$7.7 billion tender offer, said that "if there had been -- and if there ever is an indication that Oracle is willing to pay what we consider to be the right price for the shareholders to get for this company, and there is a high certainty of being able to close the transaction quickly, I, personally, would be open to discussions with Oracle." \nPeopleSoft executives, how-ever, moved quickly to say that the company remains opposed to Oracle's bid. \nBoth companies make software that links back-office programs and databases to handle such tasks as accounting, human resources management and supply chain management. \n"One could argue that PeopleSoft is sending mixed signals," said Lynn Stout, a corporate law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. \nStout said that PeopleSoft's directors may not want to appear unwilling to consider Oracle's offers because that could expose them to shareholder lawsuits. But at the same time, she said, the board may want to maintain its bargaining position by rejecting the offer as being too low. \nGoldby's testimony came on the second day of a Delaware trial in which Oracle is attempting to force PeopleSoft to remove its anti-takeover measures, a "poison pill" provision that would make purchasing a majority of the company's stock prohibitively expensive and a customer rebate program that could leave Oracle with a US$2 billion bill. \nRemoving those measures would allow Oracle to proceed with its tender offer. PeopleSoft denied that Goldby's testimony indicated the company had changed its position on the merger. \nSince Oracle's first bid in June last year, PeopleSoft executives have said that Oracle's offer undervalued the company and was likely to be bogged down in antitrust scrutiny. \nBut the antitrust objection was removed when a federal court ruled in September that it would not block the deal on anticompetitive grounds, and the Justice Department announced last week that it would not appeal the decision. The primary objection to a merger now appears to be price. \n"The board's position is and has always been that it will do what's in the best interest of PeopleSoft's stockholders," said Steve Swasey, PeopleSoft's director of corporate communications. "Mr. Goldby's testimony this morning is consistent with the board's position all along." \nSwasey said that the PeopleSoft board had met more than 80 times in the past 16 months to discuss Oracle's tender offer. \n"Each time they've rejected the bid primarily because it undervalues the company," he said. \nThe current offer stands at US$21 a share, which PeopleSoft rejected as too low. The board also rejected Oracle's offer of US$26 a share in February as undervaluing the company. As recently as last Friday, A. George Battle, a PeopleSoft director, said the company remained committed to winning the Delaware trial. \nStill, Goldby's testimony, coming after the firing of PeopleSoft's chief executive, Craig A. Conway, on Friday further fueled speculation that PeopleSoft is softening its opposition to the merger. \nStout said that it appeared that PeopleSoft would eventually accept a deal with Oracle.
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday released a set of revised criteria for reporting suspected COVID-19 cases, while also announcing its guidelines for disclosing patients’ personal information. The center said that its advisory specialist panel revised the definition for “severe pneumonia with novel pathogens” — COVID-19 infection — by expanding the criteria needed to report suspected cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that physicians should report people for testing if they meet one of three clinical conditions: They have a fever, acute respiratory infection, or a lack of smell or taste; there is a