Oracle-Sun deal approved in Europe

Bloomberg News / January 22, 2010

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BRUSSELS - Oracle Corp. received approval from European Union regulators to buy Sun Microsystems Inc. yesterday, overcoming one of the last regulatory hurdles to the $7.4 billion deal.

The European Commission cleared the purchase after Oracle addressed competition concerns about its acquisition of the open-source database MySQL, which Sun bought in 2008. Oracle said on Dec. 14 that it would boost investment in MySQL and is committed to keeping MySQL’s open-source licensing platform.

“I am now satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned,’’ European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. “Oracle’s acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products.’’

Oracle, the second-biggest software maker, aims to squeeze $1.5 billion in operating profit from Sun in the first year after the deal closes in the next few weeks. Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison said in September that the delay was breeding customer uncertainty, causing Sun to lose $100 million a month as companies held off purchases.

The panel had threatened to block the deal due to fears that Oracle might be able to eliminate MySQL as a competitor.