Oracle Corp. won permission from a U.S. judge to proceed with its $7.7 billion hostile bid for PeopleSoft Inc., reviving a battle that PeopleSoft said drove customers to competitors. PeopleSoft shares jumped 15 percent. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ruled against the Justice Department, which said a merger would violate antitrust rules. Oracle, the No. 3 maker of business software, still needs approval from PeopleSoft shareholders and European regulators to complete the takeover. The merger would allow Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison's company to become the second-largest business-software maker behind Germany's SAP AG. Oracle lost the No. 2 slot to PeopleSoft when that company acquired J.D. Edwards last year. It may spark more acquisitions in the software industry as companies seek partners to compete with the combined company. ``This decision puts the onus squarely on the board of PeopleSoft to meet with us and to redeem their poison pill so that the shareholders can accept our offer,'' Oracle Chairman Jeffrey O. Henley said in an e-mailed statement. PeopleSoft spokesman Steve Swasey declined to comment immediately. Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, didn't return a message left on voice mail, informs Bloomberg. According to MarketWatch, Oracle bucked convention and court odds in defending itself against the suit. Typically corporations give up on takeover efforts if Justice Department lawyers deem they would be anti-competitive. While the ruling is a victory for Oracle and its combative CEO Larry Ellison, the business software developer still faces a possible appeal from the Justice Department, as well as other court and regulatory hurdles. The European Commission has opened its own review of the takeover bid. Also, a jury trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 1 in California state court in a suit filed by PeopleSoft seeking damages from Oracle for hurting its business. Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle has been trying for the past 14 months to take over PeopleSoft, its rival based only minutes away in Pleasanton, Calif. Oracle wants PeopleSoft's 12,000-strong customer base and has promised shareholders big returns in the way of cost savings and added scale if it can do so. PeopleSoft maintains that Oracle's bidding price isn't high enough and that its customers will suffer if it ends up being taken over.
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