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Brussels, 28 March 2008

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into Nokia's proposed acquisition of Navteq

The European Commission has opened a detailed investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition by Finnish company Nokia of Navteq, a US company. Nokia produces mobile phone handsets and Navteq is one of two producers of navigable digital maps, a crucial input for navigation services that can be distributed via mobile handsets. The Commission's initial market investigation has indicated that the proposed merger raises serious doubts with regards to vertical competition concerns. A decision to open an in-depth inquiry does not prejudge the final result of the investigation. The Commission now has until 8th August 2008 to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area (EEA) or a significant part of it.

Nokia is active in the provision of navigation services and manufacturing of mobile phone handsets where it is the world market leader. The US company Navteq is one of only two producers of navigable digital maps which offer complete coverage of Europe and North America (the other producer is the Dutch firm Tele Atlas).

After a preliminary review, the Commission has identified serious doubts about the compatibility with the Common Market of the acquisition by Nokia of Navteq because it might, in the light of the duopoly market for navigable digital maps and Nokia's strong position on the market for mobile handsets, lead to a significant impediment of competition within the EEA. The Commission's in-depth investigation will focus, inter alia, on assessing whether the transaction would increase the costs of navigable digital map for other companies providing navigation services on mobile handsets or limit their access to these maps, and as a consequence harm consumers.

This operation raises some issues similar to another vertical merger, involving the proposed acquisition of Tele Atlas by TomTom, a Dutch company manufacturing portable navigation devices and selling navigation software for mobile phones. The proposed TomTom/Tele Atlas transaction is currently under review by the Commission (see IP/07/1800).

More information on the case will be available at:

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