PeopleSoft Inc. said on Monday it would buy rival J.D. Edwards & Co. for $1.7 billion in stock, creating the second largest business software company. The deal brings together PeopleSoft, which is best known for its software that stitches a company's human resources operations together with other business departments and J.D. Edwards, which focuses on manufacturing shop floor integration software.

The combination, which will compete with Germany's SAP AG and Oracle Corp., comes against the backdrop of weaker corporate spending on technology, which has chilled the market for most business software makers.

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