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Deals to Watch: Google Searches for Motorola Approval

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG - Get Report) will seek European Commission approval of its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility (MMI - Get Report), according to the regulator's website on Monday.

The deal announced in August would allow Google to bolster its Android smartphone operating system by adding Motorola Mobility's mobile device making operations - turning the U.S. search giant into a clear competitor to Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iPhone. In November, it received 99% of shareholder approval earlier in making both U.S. and European Union antitrust regulatory approval on of the final hurdles before the deal is sealed. Currently, Google expects the deal to close in late 2011 or early 2012.

Google's purchase, while cheered by Motorola Mobility shareholders who received an over 60% premium to shares prior to Google's bid, has already faced increased regulatory scrutiny. In September, Google said in a post on its corporate blog that its purchase of Motorola Mobility (MMI - Get Report) was under increased scrutiny by antitrust enforcers at the U.S. Department of Justice.

The purchase was also spurred by activist investor Carl Icahn, Motorola Mobility's largest shareholder, who advocated that the company sell its patents following a boom in patent sales this summer that also included Nortel Networks $4.5 billion sale of patents to a consortium to tech companies including Apple and Research In Motion (RIMM).

In the post, Google Senior Vice President Dennis Woodside said that as part of the merger process they have been talking to the Department of Justice since the merger was announced in August and that "Today we received what is called a "second request," which means that the DOJ is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal."

Woodside's post indicated that the deal to buy Motorola Mobility, the Schaumburg, Illinois based handset maker may be delayed. According to Woodside, "this means we won't be closing right away, we're confident that the DOJ will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile ecosystem will remain highly competitive after this deal closes." He also called the second inquiry "routine" and mentioned that the Mountain View, California- based company has gotten similar requests from the DoJ before.
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