Oracle makes bid for PeopleSoft

Eat - and be eaten.

Four days after application software provider PeopleSoft signed a $1.7 billion deal to buy J.D. Edwards & Co., an even bigger fish announced this morning it wants to gobble up PeopleSoft.

Oracle Corp., the world's biggest enterprise software company, is making a $5 billion cash offer for PeopleSoft.

The deal could mean that the J.D. Edwards acquisition might be called off. In a statement, Oracle said it would "review whether, and on what terms, Oracle would support that transaction."

Oracle executives have scheduled a conference call to discuss their offer later this morning.

"Although we will not be actively selling PeopleSoft products to new customers, we will provide enhanced support for all PeopleSoft products," Larry Ellison, Oracle's leader for 25 years, said in a statement. "We will be incorporating the advanced features from the PeopleSoft products into future versions of the Oracle eBusiness Suite."

Oracle's $16-a-share offer is nearly $1 above the Thursday closing price of PeopleSoft stock, which has hit a 52-week low of $11.75 and a high of $22.50.

Oracle has hired Credit Suisse First Boston as an adviser and for bridge financing.

The deal, yet to be reviewed by PeopleSoft's board, also would require shareholder and regulatory approvals.

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