EU antitrust probe gives green light to Nokia for handset sale

Oliver Smith
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EUROPEAN Union antitrust regulators have approved Nokia’s €5.44bn (£4.5bn) sale of its devices and services division to Microsoft.

“The commission concluded that the transaction would not raise any competition concerns,” the European Commission said in a statement yesterday.

The deal has now passed final regulatory approval, having been given the go ahead by the US Department of Justice last week and it was agreed by Nokia’s shareholders in November.

The commission said the deal is “unlikely to lead to competitors being shut out from the market”.

“The overlap of the two companies’ activities in this area is minimal and several strong rivals, such as Samsung and Apple will continue to compete with the merged entity.”

The sale will relieve Nokia of its loss-making handset business, the remaining company will earn over 90 per cent of its revenue from telecom equipment unit Nokia Services and Networks (NSN), its navigation business and patents.

NSN reported growing operating margins and profits of €166m in the third quarter to 30 September.

Nokia’s share price has risen over 90 per cent since the deal was announced in September, it closed up 1.2 per cent at €5.78 yesterday.