Microsoft Courted Merger With SAP

By Agence France-Presse Microsoft Corp. acknowledged June 7 it approached German business software giant SAP AG about a possible merger in 2003, but that the talks failed and were concluded. The Redmond, Wash.-based software firm, which has faced antitrust action in both Europe and the United States, confirmed the discussions with SAP, saying they were expected to be used in evidence at the U.S. government's antitrust suit against Oracle Corp. which is bidding for rival PeopleSoft Inc. "Due to certain confidential information obtained from Microsoft Corp. in the pretrial discovery process that Oracle Corp. is expected to raise at the trial concerning the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit to block Oracle's takeover of PeopleSoft Inc., Microsoft will, in this instance, depart from its longstanding policy of not commenting on discussions related to potential mergers and acquisitions," the company said in a statement. Microsoft said that late last year "it initiated preliminary discussions with SAP AG to explore the possibility of a potential merger between the two companies." A few months ago, Microsoft "ended these discussions due to the complexity of the potential transaction and subsequent integration," the statement said. "There are no intentions to resume these talks." After the merger talks ended, the two companies held other discussions that resulted in a deepened relationship on Web services and a patent cross-licensing agreement between them," the statement added. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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