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IBM Said to Settle European Union Antitrust Probe Next Week

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- International Business Machines Corp. will reach a settlement with European Union antitrust regulators next week to end a probe into mainframe software, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The European Commission intends to accept an offer made by IBM in September to resolve a dispute over anti-competitive behaviour that may have blocked rival mainframe software makers, said the people who couldn’t be identified because the talks are private.

Regulators have sought comments from rivals and customers on IBM’s commitments to ensure the availability of certain spare parts and technical information. The Brussels-based regulator closed a separate probe over IBM’s mainframe computers after three competitors dropped complaints.

The commission in 2010 opened investigations into Armonk, New York-based IBM over possible anti-competitive behavior that may have blocked competitors in mainframe software and maintenance contracts by “restricting or delaying access to spare parts.”

Joe Hanley, a spokesman for IBM in London, declined to comment. Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the commission, didn’t immediately respond to a call and e-mail seeking comment.

Reuters reported the settlement earlier today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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