Morgan Stanley to EU: Whatever Larry Wants, Larry Gets, and Sun Is No Exception
For Oracle, whose acquisition of Peoplesoft and Siebel Systems cleared in Europe without conditions, news that the European Commission issued formal objections to its purchase of Sun was likely particularly galling.
According to Oracle (ORCL) CEO Larry Ellison, Sun (JAVA) is already losing $100 million a month as it waits for regulatory approval, and judging from the price of the company’s stock today, it may be losing even more than that. Shares in Sun slid to $8.11–about 15 percent below Oracle’s offer price and a far cry from the $9.18 they hit in mid-October.
Clearly, investors are alarmed by this latest turn of events, though industry observers say there’s little reason for them to be. Morgan Stanley, for example, believes Oracle’s acquisition of Sun will win EU approval with few, if any, modifications to the MySQL database software about which regulators are so concerned.
“Based on our diligence, we believe the EC is likely to approve the deal with no remedies or remedies pertaining to MySQL’s licensing,” the research house said in a note to clients today. “It is highly unlikely that Oracle restructures the deal (e.g. spins MySQL) or walks away.”
Morgan Stanley’s call: The deal will go through and at $9.50 per share. As the firm notes, the EU hasn’t blocked a U.S.-based transaction since GE/Honeywell in 2001.