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Google to Keep Waze Separate During U.K. Antitrust Review

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Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., owner of the world’s largest search engine, agreed to hold mapping-application Waze separate from its own business temporarily until a U.K. regulator has had time to review the acquisition.

Google offered under a standstill agreement to keep the Waze business, brand and sales separate from its own business during any possible U.K. antitrust review of the deal, according to a statement published on the website of the London-based Office of Fair Trading yesterday. The regulator is still determining whether it has jurisdiction over the deal.

Google is undergoing scrutiny from regulators around the world as it expands its product lineup and moves into new areas such as mobile technology. The Mountain View, California-based company underwent regulatory approval by the U.S. and other countries for its $12.4 billion acquisition of handset-maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., which became part of Google last year.

“The undertakings are without prejudice to OFT’s ongoing investigation into the completed acquisition by Google Inc. of Waze,” the U.K. regulator said in the statement.

The undertakings require “no substantive changes” to key staff or the organizational structure of either company, the OFT said. The companies would be required to separately operate and update their customer and supplier lists, the OFT said.

Niki Fenwick, a Google spokeswoman, declined to comment on the agreement. Elliott Ball, a spokesman for the regulator, declined to comment further on the case.

The Waze deal was valued at about $1.1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said in June. Google didn’t disclose terms in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Bodoni in Luxembourg at sbodoni@bloomberg.net

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

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