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Brussels, 29th April 2008

Mergers: Commission approves proposed acquisition of BEA by Oracle

The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the US-company BEA Systems, an independent provider of middleware software, by Oracle Corporation, also of the US. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Oracle provides enterprise software solutions and related services, including "middleware", database and enterprise applications software. BEA offers middleware software. Middleware belongs to the category of infrastructure software and mediates between and among operating systems, database software and enterprise application software.

The Commission examined the potential effects of the proposed merger on the overall middleware software sector and its various sub-divisions, namely application servers, portals, enterprise service bus software (which provides means of communication between applications) and software which allows the integration of applications. In each instance, the Commission found that the horizontal overlap between the parties' activities would not give rise to competition concerns, in particular since Oracle and BEA were not seen to compete head-to-head. The combined Oracle and BEA entity would face several strong competitors in the overall middleware market and in each of the sub-segments, such as IBM, Sun, Microsoft and SAP, and customers would therefore find sufficient alternative suppliers.

The Commission's investigation found no risk of co-ordinated effects since middleware software is highly complex and prices are non-transparent as most vendors apply a variety of discount options.

More information on the case will be available at:

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