Apple CEO Gil Amelio is ready to use a poison pill stock option to prevent Oracle boss Larry Ellison from completing a hostile $1.25 billion takeover of the troubled company.
Ellison revealed last week that he was assembling a group of investors to buy Apple and force out Amelio and his management team. If the takeover was to go-ahead, Apple would be a separate company from Oracle and would be headed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Ellison would have a seat on the company?s board.
?Now is the time. I think Apple can be saved and I think Apple should be saved,? said Ellison.
The hostile takeover came as Amelio was preparing to meet with one of Apple?s largest institutional shareholders, California Public Employees? Retirement System (Calpers) at the end of the month, after the pensions group labelled Apple as the worst performing company in the US.
Amelio said he refused to be distracted by Ellison?s threats. ?I will not get into a mode of reacting to Larry Ellison,? he insisted.
But the manufacturer?s lawyers are understood to be ready to fend off any hostile moves by using a poison pill option of offering new shares to existing shareholders at half the market price in order to dilute the stock.
Ellison wanted to acquire 60 per cent of Apple?s outstanding 124.7 million shares, but only if shareholders agree to sell at the current market value. Apple has 124.7 million shares worth around $2.1 billion, so Ellison would need to find $1.25 billion to complete the takeover.
Jobs, a close personal friend of Ellison, has downplayed the bid and has attempted to distance himself from his relationship with Ellison. ?This is a stupid little soap opera and I don?t have a clue about it,? he said.
This is the second time that Ellison has tried to take control of Apple ? his first attempt to make a bid was in 1995.
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