Green Light For Siebel-Oracle Merger

UPDATED: Oracle has one less hurdle to jump in its $5.85 billion acquisition bid for rival Siebel .

The European Commission (EC) said a merged Oracle/Siebel offering wouldn’t impede effective competition in its member countries and gave the purchase its blessing today.

“The Commission’s investigation showed that the degree of horizontal overlap, as regards CRM software, between the activities of Oracle and Siebel would give rise to no competition concerns since the combined entity would continue to face several strong competitors in a fragmented market,” a statement concerning the approval noted.

Commissioners also noted widely-used open standards would make it hard for Oracle to impose restrictions such as requiring Siebel customers to use Oracle’s database product.

The decision was helped by the number of large-scale software vendors in the sector, such as SAP , and Microsoft , which help create a still-competitive CRM market.

Oracle spokesperson Bob Wynne said: “We are very pleased with the Commission’s decision and believe we are on track to complete this merger and begin serving our combined customer base in the first quarter of ’06, as scheduled.”

Oracle announced its intent to acquire CRM giant Siebel for $5.85 billion Sept. 12. While Oracle has its own CRM line the inclusion of Siebel’s on-premise and software-as-a-service (SaaS), notably its customer base, made it an attractive target.

Oracle wasn’t expected to face any major challenge on the Siebel acquisition, despite a protracted legal battle with the DOJ over Oracle’s acquisition of PeopleSoft last year.

The EC approval is the last antitrust regulatory hurdle for the software giant. The U.S. Department of Justice approved the company’s acquisition bid under the hart-Scott-Rodino Act last month.

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