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By Brenon Daly

Although terms weren’t disclosed in Oracle’s (NYSE:ORCL) reach for Silver Creek Systems earlier this week, we suspect the startup can claim something that not one of the nine companies that Oracle gobbled up in 2009 can say: it garnered an above-market valuation in the deal. The trade sale also undoubtedly generated a decent return for Silver Creek’s backers, which hasn’t been the case in many recent sales of VC-backed companies.

A pretty lean operation, Silver Creek has raised some $14m since its restart as a data-quality vendor back in 2002 and hasn’t needed to raise money since 2005. We believe Oracle may have ended up paying twice the amount that Silver Creek raised, since we understand there was at least one other bidder. The acquisition essentially formalizes an OEM relationship that the two companies have had since April, as my colleague Krishna Roy noted in her report on the transaction.

Whatever price Silver Creek ended up getting, it’s a notable uptick from last summer, when we were writing about how a startup in a similar market had pulled off an improbable deal that – if everything falls into place and full earnouts are earned – might just make its backers whole again. (See our earlier item on Exeros’ gamble and ultimate sale to IBM.) Also keep in mind that Big Blue only picked up some of the assets of the data discovery startup, not the whole company and its employees, as is the case with Oracle’s reach for Silver Creek. All in all, Oracle’s purchase of Silver Creek is yet another sign that the tech M&A market continues to rebound, even if it hasn’t yet fully recovered.