EU approves Oracle’s acquisition of Sun

The EU has now approved the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle but it still has China and Russia to contend with before the deal is done.

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The European Commission has approved the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle, it announced today.

It launched an investigation into the proposed acquisition back in September to examine the impact on competition, as Oracle would end up owning both its own database and MySQL.

However, despite growing controversy, the commission has given it the go ahead claiming it would "not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area."

Neelie Kroes, the Competition Commissioner in charge of the investigation, said in a statement today: "I am now satisfied that competition and innovation will be preserved on all the markets concerned. Oracle's acquisition of Sun has the potential to revitalise important assets and create new and innovative products."

Those against the acquisition have not run out of hope yet, however. The deal still needs to get approval from Russia and China and campaigners from Help MySQL are currently trying to gain signatures against it across those two regions.

"Oracle still needs clearance from the Chinese and Russian antitrust authorities and it's a matter of respect not to consider this process finished until those major jurisdictions have also taken and announced their decisions," said Florian Mueller, a campaigner with Help MySQL and previous advisor to the chief executive of the database company.

"The EC's reasoning has to be reviewed when all the details of the decision are known but based on the EC's press release it seems to be a decision based on wishful thinking for the future more so than anything else.

"So I believe the EC's decision is the wrong one, it's not based on hard facts that would have come up after the EC issued its Statement of Objections, it may not be upheld in the event of an appeal and it should not serve as the basis for decisions taken by other regulators because it would set an awful precedent for merger control in connection with open source and a variety of other IT business models."

Oracle doesn't seem worried though as the company said in a statement today it "expects unconditional approval from China and Russia and intends to close the transaction shortly."

The company has also announced a press conference on 27 January to announce its roadmap for the future of Oracle and Sun.

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