Google's Purchase of Motorola Mobility Approved by US and EU Regulators

Regulators from the US Department of Justice and European Commission on Monday separately approved Google's proposed $12.5 billion purchase of Android handset maker Motorola Mobility. Google is now expected to close the deal soon.

"This is an important milestone in the approval process and it moves us closer to closing the deal," Google vice president Don Harrison wrote in a blog post. "We are now just waiting for decisions from a few other jurisdictions before we can close this transaction." The DOJ approved the deal shortly after Mr. Harrison's post, removing the final major obstacle to the deal.

"After a thorough review of the proposed transactions, the Antitrust Division has determined that each acquisition is unlikely to substantially lessen competition and has closed these three investigations," a DOJ statement reads. "The division concluded that the specific transactions at issue are not likely to significantly change existing market dynamics."

Though the DOJ cleared the purchase without objections, the EU regulators noted they were concerned that Google would continue Motorola's aggressive defense of its mobile patents, stating that  they "keep a close eye on the behavior of all market players in the sector, particularly the increasingly strategic use of patents."

Google, however, said last week that it would make Motorola's patent technologies available for license at "fair and reasonable" rates.

Microsoft had opposed the purchase, which was announced six months ago in August 2011.

"We are encouraged by the European Commission's expression of serious concern around the misuse of standard-essential patents and the consequences to competition and to Internet users worldwide," Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith said in a statement. "Google's letter sent last week to standards bodies only intensified these concerns, and we welcome the Commission's scrutiny of Motorola's past and Google's future conduct related to standard-essential patents."

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