UPDATE: Conn, Ohio Join In DOJ v. Oracle Suit

By Michael Singer

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Apparently there are no fence-sitters when it comes to Oracle's $9.4 billion proposal to acquire PeopleSoft.

The Attorneys General of Connecticut and Ohio filed a motion in federal District Court in San Francisco late Wednesday to intervene in the antitrust suit brought forward by the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ).

The government is seeking to block the unsolicited bid that it claims reduces the number of firms offering a full array of enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools down to two. Currently, German-owned SAP leads the pack with Oracle and PeopleSoft trailing.

Connecticut and Ohio now join eight other states including Michigan, which also filed paperwork Wednesday to stand underneath the umbrella of the DOJ's case. Connecticut had filed its own suit in state court when the original deal was announced in June 2003. This is the first time Ohio has entered into the fray.

The states claim the Oracle takeover threatens loss or damage to the business or property, as well as the general welfare and economies, of each state. According to Connecticut Comptroller Nancy Wyman, a takeover would create an "enormous and expensive upheaval" of the state's $100 million conversion of its computer system, known as Core-CT, using Peoplesoft.

A spokesperson for Ohio State Attorney General Jim Petro did not disclose what kind of financial damages could be incurred as a result of the takeover. But Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said his state's taxpayers could be looking at more than $130 million in damages were the merger to succeed.

Oracle's has staunchly maintained that its ERP defense identifies the software vendor as a competitor in the broader software market facing stiff competition in the mid-tier sector from Microsoft, IBM and others.

An Oracle spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on the addition of Michigan, Connecticut or Ohio, but court documents show that the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company "does not oppose this motion."

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