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European Union regulators said Friday that they are taking more time to examine Nokia's plans to acquire U.S. digital mapmaker Navteq.
The European Commission extended its deliberations by 90 working days, with an option of taking as much as 125 days under certain conditions. The extension does not signal how the EC would ultimately rule on the $8.1 billion acquisition. The commission's initial investigation found potential problems the deal could pose to the market for navigable digital maps.
In response to the EC action, Navteq and Nokia said in a statement they remained committed to the deal, announced back in October.
"Nokia remains strongly committed to this acquisition, which will play a key role in our Internet services push," said Rick Simonson, executive VP and CFO for Nokia. "We have engaged in an open and constructive dialogue with the commission in order to find agreement on the acquisition of Navteq. We have listened to the commission's concerns and look forward to finding a common understanding that will enable the transaction to be closed."
Nokia needs EC approval for the deal to go through. If approved, the acquisition could bring major changes to the navigation market. That's because Nokia, the world's largest mobile phone maker, is expected to launch its own navigation devices, including navigation-enabled smartphones, to compete with the popular namesake device from Garmin. The U.S. company relies on Navteq for mapping data.
Nokia has been evolving from being a handset maker to also being a Web services company focused on mobility. The Navteq deal could help the company quickly become a global powerhouse for navigation services, analysts suggest.