Nokia and Siemens have been given the go-ahead to merge their networking divisions, making the combined group one of the largest communications providers in the world.
The deal, announced in July, will merge Nokia's networks business group and Siemens' carrier operations into a new company called Nokia Siemens Networks.
The new entity will have a Nokia chairman and a Siemens chief financial officer, and ownership will be split equally between the two partners.
"The European Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it," the EU's executive body said in a statement.
"The main competitive impact of the proposed transaction would be in the mobile network equipment sector, since Nokia has few activities in fixed-line telecoms."
Nokia Siemens Networks will handle one in five of all European calls. The deal will make the new venture the second biggest mobile equipment player and third in fixed infrastructure sales behind Ericsson and Alcatel.
"We believe this decision by the European Commission is a key milestone in obtaining all the relevant approvals for the transaction," said Simon Beresford-Wylie, the merged company's new chief executive.
"While there are notifications still pending in some countries, based on this decision we are optimistic that the merger can be closed within the timetable anticipated by both parties."
EU approves Nokia/Siemens merger
By Iain Thomson on Nov 16, 2006 11:52AM