EU Approves $7.4 Billion Deal Between Oracle And Sun

It’s official: the European Commission has granted regulatory approval for Oracle to acquire Sun Microsystems for approximately $7.4 billion, without further conditions. In a statement released moments ago, Oracle says it expects unconditional approval from China and Russia as well and intends to close the transaction shortly.

Oracle will host an all-day live event for customers, partners, press and analysts on January 27th, 2010 at 9:00 AM Pacific time at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, California.

Just in case you weren’t planning on attending or following the major Apple event.

The approval comes after an in-depth antitrust investigation opened in September amid concerns that Oracle’s acquisition of MySQL would stifle competition in the database market. In August 2009, the Departement of Justice had already given the deal green light.

From the press release:

The Commission’s in-depth investigation showed that although MySQL and Oracle compete in certain parts of the database market, they are not close competitors in others, such as the high-end segment.

Given the open source nature of MySQL, the Commission also assessed Oracle’s ability and incentive to remove the constraint exerted by MySQL after the merger and the extent to which this constraint could, if necessary, be replaced by other actors on the database market.

“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 revitalize important assets and create new and innovative products,” said Neelie Kroes, the European antitrust commissioner.

The database market is highly concentrated with the three main proprietary database vendors – Oracle, IBM and Microsoft – accounting for approximately 85% of the market in terms of revenue, the commission added.