Regulatory approval for Microsoft-Nokia deal delayed till April

The deal, announced last September, has received approvals from most regulators and antitrust agencies, with approvals yet to come from some Asian countries.

By Ananth Baliga
Regulatory approval for Microsoft-Nokia deal delayed till April
The $7 billion deal announced last September, involves the sale of Nokia's smartphone business and related patents to Microsoft. (UPI Photo/keizo Mori) | License Photo

REDMOND, Wash., March 24 (UPI) -- Microsoft's buyout of Nokia handset and smartphone business has been delayed till April, pending regulatory approval from Asian countries.

The $7 billion deal, announced last September, will see Microsoft acquire Nokia's Devices and Services business, including its smartphone and mobile phones businesses. The deal will also involve licensing of Nokia's patent to Microsoft. The deal has been undergoing regulatory and antitrust approvals in 15 countries across five continents.


Nokia said Monday that the deal had received approvals from the European Commission and the U.S. Justice Department, but a spokeswoman for the company in India refused to name the countries where approvals are still needed. Sources close to the matter have suggested that China is yet to give approval to the deal.

“We are nearing the final stages of our global regulatory approval process -- to date we have received approvals from regulatory authorities in 15 markets on five continents,” wrote Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith in a blog post.

Though it was expected to go through in the first quarter, the deal has now been pushed to sometime in April. According to a statement from Nokia, "the transaction is pending approvals from certain antitrust authorities in Asia which are still conducting their reviews."


Nokia did point out that tax proceedings in India have had no bearing on the completion of the deal. The Competition Commission of India approved the deal in October and determined that the deal would have no adverse effect on the competition environment in the country. But since then, a mobile handset factory in the south of India has been frozen in a dispute over taxes for mobile phone software licenses.

But both companies said they were confident of getting the required approvals in the remaining countries.

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"Both companies are working diligently to close the transaction as expeditiously as possible," Nokia said.

"The completion of this acquisition will mark the first step to bring Microsoft and the Nokia Devices and Services business together," Smith said today. "Our acquisition will accelerate out mobile-first, cloud-first imperatives."

[Microsoft Blog] [Nokia] [PCWorld]

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