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Justice Dept. approves Oracle's Sun buy

With the federal government giving its nod, the biggest remaining hurdle is getting the OK from the European Commission.

Oracle said on Thursday that the U.S. Department of Justice has approved its plan to buy Sun Microsystems.

With Sun's shareholders having given the $9.50 per share deal the nod last month, the remaining major hurdle is approval from European antitrust regulators. Oracle declined to comment beyond a statement confirming the Justice Department's move.

The Department of Justice had said in June it needed more time to look into the deal, but has now given its stamp of approval.

Oracle announced its $7.4 billion bid for Sun back in April, following Sun's rejection of overtures from IBM. IBM was said to be still interested in Sun and somewhat blindsided by Oracle's move, a source told CNET News at the time.

The acquisition is part of a change in thinking for Oracle, which at one time eschewed mergers but has gone on a buying spree in recent years, gobbling up PeopleSoft and many other software companies. Ellison at one time specifically rejected the notion of buying Sun.