Sun's' shareholders have voted to approve the company's acquisition by Oracle, but not by a wide margin.

Shareholders holding about 62 percent of Sun's stock voted in favour of the deal at a special meeting at Sun's offices in Santa Clara, California, said Sun spokeswoman Dana Lengkeek. A majority of shares was required to move the deal forward.

Dan Olds, an industry analyst with Gabriel Consulting Group, called the level of support "surprisingly low." "I would have expected a more overwhelming endorsement from Sun shareholders," he said.

In April, Oracle announced that it planned to acquire Sun for about US$7.4 billion in cash, or $9.50 per share. Sun's stock was trading at $9.17 yesterday, up from $5.98 before the Oracle deal was announced but well below its historical levels.

The acquisition would reshape the enterprise IT market, turning Oracle into a hardware and software vendor that would compete more closely with IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

Oracle has said it expects to close the deal this summer, although it disclosed last month that the US Department of Justice had issued a "second request" for information about the acquisition.

Oracle said the DOJ's investigation focuses on "one narrow issue" about the way rights to Sun's Java technology are licensed. "I fully expect that the investigation will end soon and not delay the closing of the deal this summer," Oracle counsel Dan Wall was quoted as saying at the time.