Oracle faces another hurdle in its bid to acquire rival PeopleSoft following the European Commission's decision to conduct further investigations into competition issues raised by the bid.
In its preliminary findings, the Commission decided that it needed to conduct a full investigation into the ramifications of combining two of the largest business software makers.
It may also consider the effect of the acquisition on the database market, where Oracle is one of the largest vendors.
"The European Commission's decision reflects what we believe is the Commission's concern about the anti-competitive impact of Oracle's unsolicited tender offer on the industry," said PeopleSoft in a statement.
The Commission's decision ensures that the saga will drag on into next year, and will fuel speculation that Oracle may use the extention to withdraw its bid. A final decision may not be reached until mid-March.
But Oracle spokesman Jim Finn, in a statement: "We have said before that we felt a phase two review would be initiated, so we are not surprised by the European Commission's decision.
"We continue to work closely with the Commission throughout this process. We are in this for the long haul and we remain committed to completing our intended acquisition of PeopleSoft."
That differs from guidance it gave in September, when Oracle executive vice president Chuck Phillips said the company had delayed filing its proposals with European regulators because it wanted to get their decisions at the same time as those of their US counterparts.
Phillips said at the time that the 30-day preliminary investigation by European regulators would coincide with the US Department of Justice decision, which is expected imminently.
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