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EU may delay Oracle's Sun acquisition

Golden 'chutes not deployed

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European regulators could help create a further delay in the closure of Oracle's planned $5.6bn acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Reuters has reported European Union anti-trust authorities are sill deciding whether to approved he deal by Thursday's deadline, with concern centered on Oracle's ownership of MySQL.

A decision to not automatically approve the deal and to proceed to a review would spark an investigation that could last up to four months potentially pushing closure into the beginning of 2010. With the clock ticking, a decision on whether to investigate has not been taken.

If the EU does decide to investigate it would mean the latest set back to Oracle's acquisition. The Reg understands from Sun insiders the deal has already missed at least one closure date, with executes steering the deal missing out on a planned allocation of stock as a result.

Oracle's purchase of Sun was last month cleared by US regulators at the Department of Justice (DoJ), after concern initially surfaced over implications for the way Java is licensed

At the time, Oracle's lawyers issued a brisk statement that dismissed the notion anti-trust on Java would delay the deal and stressed its cordial dealings with the DoJ.

Europe could be a different matter. Regulators have proved notoriously resistant to US companies and their lawyers trying to fast-track decisions or side step the process.

If there is a regulatory catch, though, it's likely to have been the fact Java will be owned and licensed by one of the largest Java vendors. The catch would be the terms and conditions Oracle made Java available under.

The EU last month certainly suggested this could be an issue, when it said it was examining the deal and would be done by September 3.

On databases, while Oracle might have dominant market share in RDBMS, this remains a relatively diverse market while MySQL largely plays in a different segment. ®

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