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European Commission OKs Oracle-Siebel Deal

It's the last hurdle to be cleared, and now the deal can close.

The European Commission on Thursday cleared Oracle Corp.'s proposed $5.85 billion acquisition of enterprise-software rival Siebel Systems Inc. in the last regulatory hurdle to seal the deal.

European Commission regulators examined the deal carefully to see the power that the combined companies would create in the European market for customer-relations software and if the combined entity would cause "conglomerate effects."

After examining the operation carefully, the European Commission concluded the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition and approved the acquisition. Oracle offers database products and enterprise application software. Siebel offers customer relationship management software to help companies improve services.

Oracle agreed in September to acquire Siebel. The deal won U.S. antitrust approval from the Department of Justice last month. It's part of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's strategy to surpass SAP AG and become the world's largest enterprise software company worldwide.

The green light from European antitrust regulators for Oracle to acquire Siebel is in contrast to their response to the software maker's acquisition of rival PeopleSoft just last year. Oracle had to put up an 18-month fight to gain PeopleSoft, but ultimately prevailed. Both the European Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice had raised concerns about the takeover.

“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," said Bob Wynne, Oracle spokesperson in a prepared statement.

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