NSN gets China clearance for Moto purchase

In the wake of Huawei’s reconciliation with Motorola, Chinese authorities have finally granted unconditional approval for the acquisition of Motorola’s network assets by Nokia Siemens Networks. The deal had been moving at a glacial pace since its inception in July 2010, thanks largely to the Chinese Anti-Monopoly Bureau’s (MOFCOM) reluctance to approve it.

The delay was seen as strategic foot-dragging by MOFCOM, after Huawei won an injunction in the US relating to the proposed sale, asking for proof that intellectual property it had licensed to Motorola would not be transferred under the deal.

Squabbling between China and the West has been intensifying recently, with Huawei being forced to withdraw from its acquisition of 3Leaf by the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) on grounds of national security—prompting the firm’s chairman to write an open letter to the US authorities challenging them to present proof that Huawei has links to the Chinese military and intelligence services, accusations that have dogged the vendor as it seeks to expand its business in the West.

In a bid to push the deal through, Motorola recently dropped the purchase price from $1.2bn to $975m, which in an NSN spokesman’s words: “is a good deal for Nokia Siemens Networks.” This transaction significantly strengthens NSN’s global presence, particularly in the US and Japan and also gives the firm a large footprint with CDMA customers.

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