Department of Justice Ends Probe into Oracle-Siebel Deal

The decision ends speculation that the Justice Department could seek another shot at Oracle.

The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that it has closed its antitrust investigation of Oracle Corp.s acquisition of Siebel Systems Inc., ending speculation that it might be seeking a second go-around with the worlds second-largest software developer.

Oracle on Tuesday announced the Justice Departments decision to end the investigation.

In September, Oracle announced its intent to acquire Siebel, which develops CRM (customer relationship management) software, for $5.85 billion.

Later in the month, under the auspices of its Hart-Scott-Rodino Act antitrust review, the Justice Department made a second request for information regarding the intended acquisition—a move that signaled to many observers that the Justice Department might be looking for another shot at Oracle. And some bit of retribution.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Oracle coming up against the Department of Justice in its efforts to acquire Siebel.

During its costly 18-month takeover battle to acquire PeopleSoft Inc. last year, Oracle came up against the Justice Department in a trial that sought to block the merger.

The two entities went head-to-head based on the Justice Departments contention that the merger would quash competition in the business applications market.

Oracle, in rebuttal, said the playing field was large enough to sustain the deal, pointing to secret merger talks between software giants Microsoft Corp. and SAP AG, and to a host of other companies that provide ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, as proof.

Oracle eventually prevailed, while the Justice Departments case was harshly criticized by the ruling Judge Vaughn Walker.

The European Commission still has to weigh in on the Siebel deal, but its expected to follow the Justice Departments lead, much as it did in the PeopleSoft case.

Oracle expects the deal to close without much further ado in early 2006.

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