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Nokia clears Europe hurdle for Alcatel-Lucent buy

China and Nokia's own shareholders are the only ones still to approve.

By Alexander Sword

The European Commission has approved Nokia‘s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent, just over a month after it was submitted.

The €15.6 billion transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2016, was approved without conditions.

The Commission concluded in a statement that the transaction "would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties are not close competitors and since a number of strong global competitors will remain active after the transaction."

Areas of overlap between the two companies’ activities were assessed, with the EC finding that the two companies had few overlaps.

Gartner Research Director Akshay Sharma concurred with the decision, stating that the two companies only really overlapped in their radio activities and suggesting that their operations would complement each other.

"There are some synergies (between the two companies)," he comments. "Alcatel-Lucent has a very strong routing division…Nokia is very strong in international markets, while Alcatel-Lucent is very strong in the US."

According to Sharma, the only significant remaining regulatory hurdle would be in China, which he expected would pass the decision without problems.

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He added that the merger would be more streamlined than, for example, the Nokia-Siemens merger, because it is clearly established as a "take-over" of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia.

According to figures from Gartner, Ericsson holds roughly 17 percent of the global networking market while Huawei holds 16.1 percent. The combination of Alcatel-Lucent and the former mobile company, which hold market shares of 8.7 percent and 8.2 percent respectively, will make them a comparable player.

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