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Consumer Electronics

China approves sale of Nokia handset business to Microsoft

US software giant Microsoft has moved a decisive step closer to finalizing the takeover of Nokia's handset business. Chinese regulators approved the deal after checking its impact on patent licenses.

Finnish telecommunications group Nokia said Tuesday it had cleared a big hurdle of the sale of its mobile devices business to Microsoft after securing approval from Chinese regulators.

China's Ministry of Commerce became the latest regulator to approve the deal after the European Commission and the US Justice Department had already given the green light.

The takeover was expected to be completed later this month, Nokia said, confirming the deal was worth 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion). It said it consisted of 3.79 billion euros for the company's devices and services division and another 1.65 billion euros for its patents.

Patents in focus

Microsoft to buy Nokia's handset business

According to Bloomberg, China regulators took more time than expected to analyze the deal against rivals such as Samsung and Huawei, having voiced concerns about a drastic rise in Nokia patent licenses after the takeover.

But market experts said important licenses would not involve higher fees, with crucial patents not allowed to change hands for five years.

Nokia was once the world's leading mobile phone maker until smartphones from Apple and companies using Google's Android operating system overtook the Finnish firm.

After the planned sale of its handset business, Nokia will consist of its network infrastructure and services division (NSN) and its mapping services unit called HERE.

hg/kms (AP, dpa)

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