EC Oracle probe faces further delay

Mario Monti hits pause...

The European Commission probe into Oracle's takeover of rival Peoplesoft looks set for another delay, which could mean the database giant will face the US courts first. Oracle is due to meet the US Department of Justice in court on 7 June.

In mid-April the EC called a halt to proceedings so Oracle could provide more information about discounts - the verdict was originally due 11 May. It is still waiting to receive that evidence. Once the evidence is in a verdict would be about a month away.

The Commission may be wary of ruling on the all-US deal before the US courts have had their say.

Peoplesoft is concerned that Oracle is dragging its feet to increase fear and uncertainty around its competitor. Oracle insists it is doing its best to provide the information and has set up a team of people to find the relevant documents - which go back as far as 2000.

The EC fears that the $9bn takeover will leave Oracle and SAP with an effective duopoly for human resources and finance software for large enterprises. The DoJ has similar fears and has asked for similar documents relating to discounts offered to big customers.

Commission officials told the Financial Times that Oracle is effectively in charge of the timetable, because the EC is relying on the company to provide evidence. ®

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