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Oracle is asking the PeopleSoft board of directors to remove the poison pills which would scupper any attempted takeover. The database giant is calling on the board to take action before the courts do. Armed with the acceptance of 61 per cent of shareholders for its $24 a share tender offer, Oracle believes that it has a mandate to push through the takeover.

The two return to court tomorrow where Oracle will ask for the removal of the poison pill clauses. The clauses would be triggered if Oracle's holding in PeopleSoft reached 20 per cent - then more shares would be released, making the takeover too expensive to pursue.

The PeopleSoft board met again on Saturday, and unanimously rejected Oracle's offer. The board agreed that $24 per share substantially undervalued the company. The strategy seems to be to hold out until the annual company meeting early next year, on the hope that fourth quarter results will be good enough to bolster valuation.

If the court rules against Oracle it will need to get shareholder support for a raft of new directors. With shareholder support enough new directors could be voted onto the board to vote in favour of the takeover.

Marc Benioff, chief exec of rival firm salesforce.com and ex-Oracle exec, told AP: "Larry should just give up and walk away at this point. He has already done enough damage to PeopleSoft."

PeopleSoft statement here.

In January PeopleSoft will start its Alameda lawsuit against Oracle. It will seek $1bn in compensation for Oracle's alleged unfair business practices. ®

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