Nokia’s plan to acquire French telecom giant Alcatel-Lucent took a big leap forward on Friday when it gained approval from the European Commission.
The Commission noted that the $16.6 billion deal wouldn’t hurt competition, since the two companies don’t overlap very much when it comes to their networking businesses. Nokia has a big presence in Europe, while Alcatel-Lucent is mostly active in North America. The combined firms could also have a better chance of fighting off competitors such as Huawei, ZTE and Samsung.
The buyout will give Nokia access to a trove of new patents as it continues to expand its telecom business. Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs may be a driving factor in the merger as well. The historic research company was acquired by Alcatel in 2006 and shifted its focus towards networking and electronics a few years later. As part of the deal, Nokia has also agreed to launch a €100 million investment fund to boost French startups focused on the Internet of Things.
Nokia has been pretty busy these past few months. The company is expected to sell its HERE Maps division to a group of German carmakers. It may also unveil some sort of virtual reality headset next week.