In a one-line statement issued yesterday, Computer Associates said that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has closed its inquiry into the company's acquisition of Sterling Software without taking action.
The investigation turned out to be a short-run thing - at least publicly - but news of the probe managed to help wipe more than six per cent off CA's share price in the two days that it was made public.
News of the inquiry reached the market on Wednesday when the Wall Street Journal reported that the Sterling Software takeover was under DoJ investigation. Reacting to the news of the inquiry, CA said that according to the DoJ the inquiry was "dormant but still open".
CA acquired rival software vendor Sterling from Texas billionaire Sam Wyly for $4bn (£2.8bn) in March 2000.
The DoJ's inquiry was believed to be similar in scope to the one instigated in 1999 that studied CA's $3.5bn (£2.4bn) acquisition of another rival software company, Platinum Technologies. That investigation led to a lawsuit filed by the DoJ last September.
The suit, which is still ongoing, alleges that CA was actively involved in decision-making for Platinum before the merger had passed through antitrust review.
CA has denied any wrongdoing regarding its Platinum acquisition, but said it was especially "mindful" of the DoJ's concerns when it came to the latter acquisition of Sterling Software.
Investors were skittish on the news of the Sterling inquiry, as CA has developed a history of government investigations. As well as the suit regarding the Platinum deal, CA has also recently been under the scrutiny of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Attorney's office over its accounting practices.
The company also said that while it is cooperating with these investigations, it continues to believe its actions have been proper.
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