Google Wins Final Needed Approval for Motorola Mobility Purchase

Google Inc. (GOOG) won approval from Chinese regulators for its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI), clearing a final hurdle for a deal that boosts its patents portfolio and steps up competition with Apple Inc.

“We are pleased the deal has received approval in all jurisdictions,” Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement yesterday, confirming that the transaction has been approved in China. “We expect to close imminently.”

The deal helps Larry Page, the Google co-founder who took over as chief executive officer last year, push the Web company to better compete with Apple’s iPhone and gain more clout for its Android software as it expands in the hardware business. It also gives Google, the worlds’ biggest maker of smartphone software, a trove of 17,000 patents to protect Android devices in legal disputes with competitors.

The acquisition, announced last year, had already received approvals in Europe, the U.S. and other jurisdictions worldwide. Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility had said in a regulatory filing in February that only Chinese clearance was still required.

“Our stance since we agreed to acquire Motorola has not changed and we look forward to closing the deal,” Mountain View, California-based Google said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The company also confirmed it had received word from Chinese authorities of the purchase being approved.

Handset Makers

With the acquisition -- the largest wireless-equipment deal in at least a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg -- Google becomes a competitor to the other handset makers that make Android devices. In addition to Motorola Mobility phones, the software runs handsets made by companies such as Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) and HTC Corp. (2498)

As part of the approval, Google needs to ensure that Android software versions are free and open over the next five years, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website.

Google will report to an independent monitor in China on its efforts to comply with terms of the deal approval, according to the website.

Google fell 3.6 percent to $600.40 yesterday in New York trading. The shares have fallen 7 percent this year. Motorola Mobility closed unchanged at $39.20. The stock is up 1 percent year to date.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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