EU clears Ericsson's Marconi takeover

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The European Union's executive commission gave the green light on Tuesday to the acquisition by Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson of most of the telecom equipment businesses of British firm Marconi.


The commission, which polices antitrust issues in the 25-nation EU, said in a statement that the deal "would not significantly impede effective competition" in Europe.

British telecoms equipment maker Marconi, a victim of the high-tech bubble, agreed in late October to sell most of its assets to Ericsson for about 1.2 billion pounds in cash.

"The Commissions market investigation... confirmed that there are sufficient current competitive constraints within the telecommunications equipment market to preserve effective competition," the commission statement said.

"In particular, the merged entity will compete for future business with current competitors like Alcatel and Siemens, amongst others," it added.

Marconi, once a heavyweight of British industry and the defence industry, has been forced to cut thousands of jobs since 2002 after running up huge losses on an ill-fated spending spree in the United States during the telecoms boom.

The company's roots date to 1885 when Guglielmo Marconi, the son of an Italian landowner and Irish mother, transmitted a signal over a distance of about two kilometres.



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