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The Sun is setting slowly. But there's no stopping the sunset.
Database titan Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) has received clearance from American antitrust regulators to go ahead with its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: JAVA ) . It seems like the combination of Oracle's market-leading database products plus Sun's MySQL alternative isn't quite a monopoly. I bet Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) would like to argue otherwise, but it's too late now. The only serious hurdle left to clear is antitrust clearance from European regulators.
That's not exactly the same thing as closing the deal, but we're getting pretty darn close. You could still buy some Sun stock, wait for final approval, and reap a 1.5% return on your investment. The fact that the stock still trades below Oracle's $9.50-per-share buyout price means that a few shareholders still expect the deal to fall through. But I wouldn't advise anybody to short the stock or buy put options today. Chances are that Sun will set in Larry Ellison's backyard.
This has been a low-drama deal so far, and I don't expect that to change. IBM (NYSE: IBM ) was courting Sun for a while, but since Oracle laid up its dowry and bought a wedding band, there has been precious little controversy around the whole process. I mean, rivals like Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) are trying to swipe a few disgruntled Sun customers out of Oracle's waiting arms, but that's only to be expected.
If you want high drama, you could take a look at the Data Domain saga, where NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP ) and EMC (NYSE: EMC ) slung escalating bids and disparaging press releases at each other for months before the little storage efficiency expert nestled up beside big, bad EMC. And some buyouts were just never meant to happen.
So the Sun deal is just about done. Oracle is becoming the Big Blue 2.0 that Sun always wanted to be, but never had the scale to pull off. Its hardware, software, and databases are all under one roof.
Where's the next big buyout in tech? There are plenty of hungry giants out there with cash to spare, and the next blockbuster deal can't be too far off. In the meantime, you can read up on recent merger activity below. Or leave a comment on whether you think this deal actually makes sense; are Oracle and Sun a match made in heaven, or is Larry Ellison creating a monster he can’t control?