Business & Finance

PeopleSoft Inc. ended one of the bitterest takeover fights in recent history Monday, agreeing to a $10.3 billion offer from Oracle Corp. That brings to a close 18 months of wrangling between the software rivals in which PeopleSoft's board rejected five hostile bids, most recently for $24 per share, before arriving at a final price of $26.50. The transaction is expected to close early next month. As a result, a scheduled court date this week to settle their differences will be cancelled and all related litigation will be dismissed, CBS MarketWatch reported. Oracle is based in Redwood Shores, Calif.; PeopleSoft in Pleasanton, Calif.

A $2.6 billion takeover bid, the second such attempt in five years by Germany's Deutsche Bourse, was rejected by the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The LSE said the offer "undervalues the company." But it also said it has agreed to further discussions with Deutsche Bourse, which operates the far larger Frankfurt exchange, in hopes of a "significantly improved proposal."

Honeywell International, a leading maker of thermostats and other automated controls, ventilating systems, and aircraft parts, will buy Novar PLC for $2.4 billion, reports said. Novar, based in Surrey, England, also manufactures controls as well as aluminum building materials and checkbook-printing equipment. The deal was aimed at thwarting a hostile takeover of Novar by Melrose PLC, a London holding company.

Buyout specialist Apollo Advisers and Permira, its partner last August in acquiring Intelsat, have become the latest bidders for the global operations of Toys R Us, informed sources said. The chain, whose sales are being squeezed by mass retailers Wal-Mart and Target Corp., put itself on the auction block to focus on its faster-growing Babies R US business. It is believed to be asking at least $3.5 billion and to date has attracted a dozen offers, CNN reported. Apollo's headquarters are in Purchase, N.Y. Permira is based in London.

Meatpacker Swift & Co. announced the layoffs of about 800 employees at its Greeley, Colo., plant, effective five days before Christmas. The company is Greeley's largest employer and the layoffs will be one of the worst hits to that labor market in two decades. Swift said they are necessary because of the expiration of its contract with Con-Agra Foods Inc., to operate three feedlots that supplied 40 percent of the cattle processed at the plant. ConAgra sold the lots to Smithfield Foods Co. of Smithfield Va., earlier this year.

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