Clifford Chance clears antitrust hurdle on Oracle’s purchase of Sun Microsystems

The $7.4bn (£4.6bn) sale had been approved by US regulators before hitting a snag when the EU raised antitrust concerns over the possible termination of Sun’s rival MySQL database.

The Commission will reach a decision next month after hearing more evidence from companies including Ericsson, Microsoft and SAP, but Vinje said there was “a mountain of consistent evidence” in his client’s favour.

“The commission agreed that the deal was overwhelmingly pro-competition,” he added. “Because we’ve not offered any remedies they’ll have to clear it unconditionally.

“They have to get their decision out to the member states pretty soon, so they have to be in the decision-making stage.”

There are still outstanding antitrust cases in China and Russia to be settled before the deal can finally go through, but Vinje said he was confident these would also be resolved favourably.

US firm Latham & Watkins is acting for Oracle on antitrust matters in all jurisdictions away from the EU, with partner Daniel Wall leading the team.

Earlier this week, Vinje won another technology battle at the European Commission when he advised lead complainant Opera Software in its successful antitrust scrap with software giant Microsoft (17 December 2009).