EC clears NSN to buy Motorola

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomseurope.net
The European Commission has cleared NSN to acquire Motorola's networks division for $1.2 billion, as rumors spread that Nokia and Siemens are close to scoring a major investor for their JV.
 
The EC said its investigation determined that an NSN-Motorola merger would not substantially harm competition in Europe.
 
Motorola's networks business has little presence in the EU, and a combined entity would still face significant competition, it found.
 
NSN - which revealed plans for the acquisition in July – at the time said it aimed to close the deal by the end of the year.
 
Nokia and Siemens are also rumored to be negotiating with a consortium led by investment fund Blackstone over a sale of 30% of NSN's stock.
 
The speculation originates from a report from German-language Manager Magazin, which claims the talks are in an advanced stage.
 
Other potential investors including KKR, Apollo, Bain Capital and Silver Lake Partners are thought to have withdrawn from the bidding, the publication said. The purchase price is still open as the Motorola merger has yet to close.
 
In August, both Nokia and Siemens confirmed they were considering opening up NSN to private equity investment.
 
Siemens CFO Joe Kaeser last month reiterated Siemens' interest, while adding that NSN could also pursue an IPO in the “medium-term.”
 
NSN has been running at an operating loss since its formation, and has forecast that its market share will have remained flat in 2010.

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