Regulators in China have signed off on Microsoft’s $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s devices and services business, setting the stage for the deal to close later this month.
Nokia announced the news this morning. The U.S. and European Commission previously approved the deal, but the acquisition had been delayed by one month as authorities in China completed their review.
Google and Samsung had asked Chinese authorities to consider patent issues in their review of the deal. However, Nokia noted this morning that that no regulator has required changes in the company’s patent licensing practices.
The acquisition is a key element of Microsoft’s expansion in the hardware business, becoming a smartphone maker in addition to developing Surface tablets and Xbox game consoles. It’s part of the company’s broader evolution as a devices and services company. Former CEO Steve Ballmer began that shift, but it appears to have been accelerated under new CEO Satya Nadella.
Here’s the full news release from Nokia this morning.
Espoo, Finland – Nokia announced that the planned transaction whereby Nokia plans to sell substantially all of its Devices & Services business to Microsoft has today received regulatory approval from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.
As previously communicated, the closing of the transaction, which was announced on September 3, 2013, is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Nokia and Microsoft have now received regulatory approvals from the People’s Republic of China, the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous other jurisdictions. Nokia and Microsoft continue to expect the transaction to close during April 2014, as communicated in our press release from March 24, 2014.
The regulatory approval process has involved a thorough review of Nokia’s patent licensing practices by several competition authorities around the world. During that process, no authority has challenged Nokia’s compliance with its FRAND undertakings related to standard-essential patents (licensing on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms) or requested that Nokia make changes to its licensing program or royalty terms.