EU Approval Of Oracle's Acquisition Of Sun Now Appears Likely12:59 PM EST Mon. Dec. 14, 2009
The European Commission that's been holding up Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems has apparently been mollified by Oracle's promises to increase investment in the MySQL database and maintain its open-source licensing model.
Monday the commission issued a statement indicating that the organization is now likely to give Oracle the green light to complete the acquisition.
"Today's announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL is an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings," the EC statement said. The commission serves as the anti-trust watchdog for the European Union.
The statement said that Competition Commissioner Nelie Kroes "is optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, while ensuring that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on effective competition in the European database market."
The deadline for the EC to issue a ruling in the case is Jan. 27, 2010.
U.S. regulators approved Oracle's proposed buyout of Sun in August. But in September the European Commission said it was launching an investigation of the deal because of concerns that the acquisition would put the MySQL database under Oracle's control and that could reduce competition in the database software market.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has been adament that the company would not give up ownership of the MySQL database. He also has vowed to increase the amount of money Sun has spent to develop MySQL.
Last week the commission held two days of hearings on the issue and Oracle, in addition to repeating its arguments for allowing the acquisition to go through, brought along a parade of customers that testified in favor the deal, according to a story by the Bloomberg news service.
Outside of the hearings Oracle offered the European Commission certain commitments, including "binding contractual undertakings to storage engine vendors regarding copyright non-assertion and the extension over a period of up to five years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licenses," according to the EC statement.
In the company's latest proposals, Oracle pledged to keep MySQL's storage engine APIs public, maintain its current documentation, and continue to develop the software under its General Public License. Current customers will be able to extend their MySQL licenses to 2014 without any requirement that they buy support services from Oracle. And the company will create a MySQL customer advisory board.