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Oracle to buy Sun for $7.4 billion

Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation announced today they have entered into an agreement under which Oracle will acquire Sun. The transaction is valued at approximately $7.4 billion, with Oracle purchasing Sun stock with cash for $9.50 per share, a premium of nearly $3 per share over previous market value.

Sun's stock (JAVA) jumped nearly 33% after news of the purchase was released.

Larry Ellison, Oracle's chief executive, described Java as "the single most important software asset we have ever acquired."

By purchasing Sun, Oracle is elevated into the ranks of Dell, HP and IBM, giving them the ability to sell hardware as well as more fully exploit some important Sun software. It also puts them in a better position to compete with Microsoft by giving them control of both a major server operating system and some major business software begin run on it.

In their joint press release, Sun and Oracle cite "substantial long-term strategic customer advantages to Oracle owning two key Sun software assets: Java and Solaris." Sun's Solaris operating system is the most widely utilized platform for Oracle databases, which is Oracle's largest business sector. With the acquisition of Sun, Oracle can optimize the Oracle database for some of the unique, high-end features of Solaris.

There is some worry for proponents of the major open source projects that Sun heads up, like OpenSolaris, MySQL, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and Java itself. It will remain to be seen what Oracle intends to do with these projects and how, if at all, they'll integrated them into their product offerings.

IBM previously expressed interest in purchasing Sun, for $7b, but withdrew the offer after reviewing Sun's books and finding out how much they'd been paying their senior employees.

Sun's Board of Directors has already unanimously approved the transaction and it is anticipated to close this summer, subject to stockholder and regulatory approval.

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