DOJ Statement Is Ray Of Sunshine For Oracle’s Acquisition Of Sun
The outlook for Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems is only partly cloudy now that federal antitrust enforcers have announced that they will not be joining their European counterparts in opposing the acquisition.
The Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice issued a statement on November 9, 2009, concluding that Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun is unlikely to be anticompetitive. This announcement came on the heels of the European Commission’s objection to the proposed $7.4 billion transaction.
After an investigation that included gathering statements from a number of industry participants and reviewing Oracle’s and Sun’s internal business documents, the DOJ based its determination on a number of factors.
For example, the DOJ concluded that there are many open-source and proprietary database competitors who offer consumers a variety of well established and widely accepted data products, and thus the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to harm consumers. The DOJ also determined that there exists a large community of developers and users of Sun’s open source database with significant expertise in maintaining and improving the software, and who could support a derivative version of it.
Still, Oracle must find a way to convince the European Commission that the proposed transaction is not anticompetitive. Oracle has expressed confidence that it can do so. The company stated that “[g]iven the lack of any credible theory or evidence of competitive harm, we are confident we will ultimately obtain unconditional clearance of the transaction.”