Oracle proposes names for PeopleSoft board

Battle continues for hearts and minds of PeopleSoft shareholders

Oracle has named four candidates that it plans to nominate to the board of PeopleSoft, as it pushes forward with its efforts to try to take control of the rival company.

Oracle intends to nominate the candidates at PeopleSoft's 2005 annual stockholder's meeting, when the terms of four of PeopleSoft's seven directors are set to expire, Oracle announced this week. PeopleSoft has not said yet when the meeting will take place but it is expected to be between March and May.

Oracle's move sets the stage for an apparent proxy battle to cap 17 months of legal wrangling between the competing business software providers.

On Saturday, PeopleSoft's board formally rejected Oracle's latest offer of US$24 per share, saying that it did not reflect its market value. However, Oracle said that a majority of PeopleSoft's shareholders had tendered their shares in favour of the offer, prompting a new wave of legal battles.

In nominating its candidates, Oracle said it believes that PeopleSoft's current board members are not acting in their stockholders' best interest in rejecting its latest bid.

PeopleSoft responded soon after, saying that the nominations were an attempt to stack the board with members who would accept Oracle's buy-out for an "inadequate price".

Oracle's nominees are Duke K Bristow, an economist and director of Arena Pharmaceuticals and Landec; Roger Noall, director of Alleghany; Laurence Paul, managing principal of private equity investment firm Laurel Crown Capital; and Artur Raviv, a finance professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.