UPDATED: DoJ, EU Approves Microsoft-Nokia Deal
UPDATE, 12/4: Following the DoJ's approval, the European Union also approved the Microsoft-Nokia deal, as expected, today, saying, "the transaction would not raise any competition concerns." The original article follows.
Microsoft has received federal antitrust regulator approval for its proposed $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia's handset business.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) ended its preliminary review of the acquisition on Nov. 29, effectively giving Microsoft and Nokia permission to continue the process of closing the deal, which was first announced in September.
In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company is "pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared the deal unconditionally," and that Microsoft is looking "forward to the date when our partners at Nokia will become members of the Microsoft family."
The acquisition involves Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's devices and services arm, as well as the right to license Nokia's patents and mapping services. As part of the deal, Microsoft will incorporate over 30,000 of the Finnish phone maker's employees into its ranks. Over half of those employees are involved in device manufacturing and assembly, and nearly 5,000 are based in Finland.
Nokia's shareholders have already approved the acquisition. In the company's general meeting in November, Nokia investors voted almost unanimously in favor of the deal.
The acquisition still needs to receive approval from European Union regulators in order to be finalized. Reuters, citing unnamed sources, on Monday reported that the deal "was headed for unconditional approval" by the EU, which will announce its decision by Dec. 4.
Microsoft and Nokia expect the deal to close in the first quarter of 2014.