U.S. Senators Tell EU to Approve Oracle-Sun Deal…Typical Americans
With Sun Microsystems beginning to founder as it awaits European Commission clearance of its acquisition by Oracle, a group of U.S. senators is urging the EC to speed up its approval of the deal. In an open letter, the group–led by Senators John Kerry (D., Mass.) and Orrin Hatch (R., Utah)–essentially tells European regulators to “get on with it,” warning that further delay could result in additional layoffs for Sun’s already much diminished workforce.
“Sun Microsystems’ financial position has become more precarious and the commission’s inquiry has continued,” the letter states. “Some have raised concerns over the company’s ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible.”
An earnest (and surprising) appeal. But it’s hard to see it going over well with the EC, which issued a formal objection to the deal Nov. 9 and has been carping about Oracle’s (ORCL) lack of cooperation in its investigation for months now.
Meanwhile, Sun (JAVA), which reported a net loss of $2.2 billion for its 2009 fiscal year, compared with a net loss of $403 million for 2008, continues to lose about $100 million per month as it waits for the deal to close.
Below, the senators’ letter in full:
Chargé d’Affaires Angelos Pangratis
Acting Head of Delegation
Delegation of the European Commission to the United States
2300 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Dear Chargé d’Affaires Pangratis:
As fellow government officials committed to the principle that competition is the cornerstone of healthy economic growth, we would like to take this opportunity to share our thoughts with you as to the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Inc. by Oracle Corporation. In addition, due to Sun Microsystems’ deteriorating financial condition and the possible negative effect on employment of the company’s workforce, we respectfully request the European Commission expedite the completion of its investigation into this transaction.
The United States Department of Justice, after an intensive investigation, closed its inquiry into this transaction without taking any action. In fact, the Justice Department did not find documentary evidence that this acquisition would harm competition. We recognize that the European Commission has a sovereign right to thoroughly investigate transactions where corporations utilize the European Union’s marketplace. Further, it is our understanding the Commission is concerned about competition in the database software market. However, we have been informed by Sun Microsystems that their subsidiary, which competes in this specific market, generates only €17 million in revenue and that the same market has competitors with capitalizations of tens of billions of Euros.
Unfortunately, Sun Microsystems’ financial position has become more precarious and the Commission’s inquiry has continued. Some have raised concerns over the company’s ability to continue to employ its thousands of workers. Accordingly, we respectfully request the European Commission complete its investigation of this transaction as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.