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Google Says Motorola Buyout Boosts Choice as China Extends Probe

Google Inc. said its proposed $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. would improve consumer choice after Chinese regulators extended their probe of the deal, the last hurdle before the sale is completed.

China’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau has expanded the second phase of its investigation, Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility said in a regulatory filing yesterday. While Motorola Mobility and Google expect the transaction to close in the first half, they said they can provide no assurances the transaction will be approved by China.

Google, facing legal disputes over its Android smartphone software, is counting on the deal to be able to draw on more than 17,000 patents from Motorola Mobility. The acquisition is the largest wireless-equipment deal in at least a decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“We continue to work closely with regulators in China on their review of our planned acquisition, which will enhance competition, bringing consumers faster innovation and more choice,” Taj Meadows, a Tokyo-based spokesman for Google, said in an e-mail today.

Shen Danyang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, of which the Anti-Monopoly Bureau is part, declined to comment on the case today.

The acquisition, announced last year, has received approvals in Europe, the U.S. and other jurisdictions around the world. Motorola Mobility said in a regulatory filing in February that it needed approval in China and Taiwan.

Motorola Mobility rose less than 1 percent to $39.34 at the close in New York, while Google rose 1.4 percent to $633.98.

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