Europe Takes Closer Look at Navteq/Nokia Merger

March 28, 2008  - By
Image: GPS World

While European regulatory authorities are closely scrutinizing the proposed TomTom/Tele Atlas merger, they have also turned their eyes to the proposed Navteq/Nokia deal.

Navteq Corp. said today that the European Commission has initiated a second-phase review of Nokia’s pending acquisition of Navteq. The company stressed in its announcement that this is part of the commission’s review process and does not signal the ultimate outcome. Nevertheless, it is a rare, if not extraordinary step for the commission; in the past 10 years it has only initiated a second-phase review in about 3 percent of European mergers of publicly held companies.

The Commission now has 90 working days to make a final decision on the transaction. However, the review period may be extended to 125 working days. Such has been the case with the TomTom/Tele Atlas deal, also under a second-phase review. Those two companies are anticipating a commission decision on their merger by May 21.

Both Navteq and Nokia said they remain committed to their merger plans, noting that the deal has received all the other necessary regulatory approvals, including anti-trust approval in the United States.

Meanwhile, TomTom said March 27 that it was extending the period of its offer for Tele Atlas. It was clear the European Commission wouldn’t reach a decision by the end of the previous time frame attached to the offer to acquire Tele Atlas for €30 per share, or about €2.9 billion, which would have ended March 31, TomTom said. As result, it has extended its offer to May 30. The Commission originally announced that it was initiating a second-phase review of the merger in November of last year.

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