In one of Competition Commissioner Mario Monti's final acts before he retires at the end of the week he has officially approved Oracle's hostile takeover of PeopleSoft.
The European Commission was originally concerned that the takeover would damage competiveness in the market for enterprise software for big businesses. After the deal was approved by the US courts it seemed less likely that the EC would take a different view. It is believed that the EC's legal affairs department put the kybosh on stopping the deal because it believed Oracle would win any subsequent appeal.
The Commission found insufficient evidence that the merger would substantially damage the market for enterprise software. It now believes that the deal would not have a negative effect on the market and that Oracle-PeopleSoft and SAP will have enough competitors.
The Commission said: "After a detailed probe, the Commission has concluded that there is an absence of sufficient evidence of competitive harm especially in view of the fact that large and complex companies...have other suppliers to serve their needs beside Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP", according to the BBC.
There are no conditions attached to the approval.
PeopleSoft said its board of directors would review the implications of the decision. The statement pointed out that the board had unaimously rejected Oracle's previous offers as inadequate and not a fair reflection of the value of the company. PeopleSoft is claiming over $1bn in damages from Oracle for "a deliberate campaign to mislead PeopleSoft's customers and disrupt its business."
Earlier this month PeopleSoft removed its CEO, Craig Conway, who was widely seen as an opponent of the Oracle takeover.