China greenlights Microsoft’s €5.4bn Nokia handset takeover

CHINESE regulators have finally approved Microsoft’s takeover of Nokia’s mobile phone business after a series of delays.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce officially approved the deal worth €5.4bn (£4.4bn) yesterday after a lengthy study of Nokia’s patent licensing practices.

China is the latest antitrust regulator to approve the plan to sell the Finnish technology firm’s devices arm to Microsoft.

“The regulatory approval process has involved a thorough review of Nokia’s patent licensing practices by several competition authorities around the world. During that process, no authority has challenged Nokia’s compliance… or requested that Nokia make changes to its licensing programme or royalty terms,” said Nokia. Other regulators, such as the European Commission and the US Department of Justice, have already approved the sale.

Inderes analyst Mikael Rautanen said: “The Chinese approval had been a question mark. There were some worries that Asian authorities would tack on additional conditions to Nokia patents, which would have weakened Nokia’s profit opportunities.”

Nokia and Microsoft now expect the deal to close by the end of the month. Nokia’s shares closed up 5.5 per cent yesterday at €5.61.