BRUSSELS Nov 17 EU antitrust authorities
continue to examine Oracle's ORCL.O plan to buy Sun
Microsystems JAVA.O over which there are competition concerns,
a senior European Commission official said on Tuesday.
Oracle, the world's No. 2 maker of business software, has
already received U.S. regulatory approval for its $7 billion
acquisition of Sun and is now awaiting a decision from the
European Commission, due by Jan. 19.
The Commission, the EU's competition watchdog, has objected
to the combination of Sun's MySQL database product and Oracle's
products, saying it could hurt competition in the database
market, Sun said earlier this month. [ID:nN09279609]
Asked about the case at an industry conference, Philip Lowe,
director-general at the Commission's competition unit, said: "We
haven't completed our investigations on the merger you
mentioned. We have issued a statement of objections and we will
carry on in our normal European fashion."
In a rare rebuke to its European counterpart, The U.S.
Justice Department said on Nov. 9 that the Oracle deal was
unlikely to be anti-competitive and that consumers would be able
to choose from a variety of products after any merger.
Saying such comments were "unusual", the Commission has said
it has never remarked on cases in other jurisdictions. It has
also said it has different evidence from that of the Justice
"Both we and the U.S. agencies, where possible, look for
remedies which deal with specific problems. I hope we can also
look at present cases in that light," Lowe said.
The last time the two regulators issued different decisions
on a merger was in 2000 when U.S. authorities cleared General
Electric Co's (GE.N) takeover of Honeywell. The deal was blocked
by the Commission on antitrust grounds in 2001.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, editing by Luke Baker)