Oracle will fire 5,000 workers in the fallout from the business-software maker's recently completed $10.3 billion takeover of rival PeopleSoft. The job cuts outlined yesterday...

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SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle will fire 5,000 workers in the fallout from the business-software maker’s recently completed $10.3 billion takeover of rival PeopleSoft.

The job cuts outlined yesterday represent a 9 percent reduction from the roughly 55,000 employees on the two companies’ combined payrolls.

The purge is less severe than Oracle envisioned when it set its sights on PeopleSoft 19 months ago. At that time, Oracle planned to jettison at least 6,000 PeopleSoft employees, according to court testimony during the tense legal battle leading up to the takeover.

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Piper Jaffray analyst Tad Piper thinks Oracle still intends to reach its original target of 6,000 layoffs, but he expects the company to make the remaining job cuts very gradually.

Oracle expects to deliver most of the layoff notices to the affected employees during the weekend. The company said it will retain most of PeopleSoft’s engineers but didn’t provide other details about what types of jobs are being cut.

Industry analysts expect the layoffs to be concentrated among PeopleSoft’s 11,225 employees — a bias most corporate buyers display when cutting jobs after a takeover.

Many of PeopleSoft’s employees have been bracing for their final day on the job since Oracle, based in Redwood Shores, Calif., signed the papers last month to buy one of its biggest rivals in the business-applications software market.

The sense of foreboding created a somber atmosphere at PeopleSoft’s headquarters in Pleasanton, Calif., as employees gathered in small groups to say their final goodbyes.

Hours before Oracle’s announcement yesterday, employees turned a PeopleSoft sign into a makeshift shrine of flowers, candles and company memorabilia. An inflatable doll dressed in black wore a button that read “Oracle” with a slash through it.

“We’re mourning the passing of a great company,” said 13-year PeopleSoft veteran David Ogden, one of 26 workers from the company’s creative-services department who came to work wearing black and the “No Oracle” buttons.

Other PeopleSoft employees, flashing the defiance that characterized the company’s staunch resistance to the takeover, said they would rather be fired than work for Oracle and its chief executive, Larry Ellison.

“The new company is going to be totally different,” said Anil Aggarwal, PeopleSoft’s director of database markets. “PeopleSoft had an easygoing, relaxed atmosphere. Oracle has an edgy, aggressive atmosphere that’s not conducive to innovative production.”

The layoffs are a cornerstone of Oracle’s plan to trim its annual expenses dramatically as it strives to deliver on a promise to boost its profit by $400 million in the fiscal year ending in May 2006.

Oracle also is counting on the takeover to generate more software sales and a steady stream of revenue from existing PeopleSoft customers who pay for product upgrades and maintenance.

The takeover addled scores of loyal PeopleSoft customers, prompting Oracle to promise to keep its rival’s product line intact for much longer than it originally intended. Oracle’s desire to placate PeopleSoft’s 12,750 customers is one reason the company curtailed its layoff plans, said Piper, the industry analyst.