Less than two months after Microsoft announced its intention to purchase online communications giant Skype for $8.5 billion, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the deal. The Skype purchase will likely become Microsoft's biggest-ever acquisition, assuming it clears similar antitrust hurdles elsewhere.
The DOJ announced its approval via a notice of early termination alongside other unrelated deal approvals, and the federal agency provided no additional commentary on the deal.
Microsoft announced that it would purchase Skype in May, and integrate the company's products and technologies broadly across the Microsoft software portfolio. The software giant will also create a Skype division, which will be led by current Skype CEO Tony Bates.
The DOJ's lightning-fast approval of the Skype deal was unexpected and very much unlike previous Microsoft blockbuster deal attempts, many of which were scuttled in some way, often by federal regulators.
Microsoft had tried to purchase financial software maker Intuit for $1.5 billion in 1994, but that deal was blocked by US antitrust regulators. And Microsoft's most recent blockbuster deal before Skype—an unfriendly $45 billion bid for Yahoo!—was blocked by that company's executive staff. (One assumes that Yahoo! shareholders wish they could take back that decision now.)
Note: This article originally stated that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had approved the Microsoft deal. Actually, it was the DOJ, but it was announced via the FTC web site.