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2008-05-16 11:06Liu

TomTom wins EU approval to buy Tele Atlas

  BRUSSELS, May 14 (Xinhua) —— Dutch navigation devices maker TomTom won approval from the European Union (EU) on Wednesday to buy Tele Atlas, a provider of navigable digital maps.

  "The transaction would not significantly impede effective competition," the European Commission, the EU's antitrust watchdog, said in a statement after concluding a thorough examination.

  The commission opened an in-depth investigation into the deal last November to assess whether the vertical integration of Tele Atlas into TomTom would lead to a significant impediment of competition.

  "The SatNav market is important for consumers. After thorough investigation, I am now satisfied that the innovation and competition we have seen in SatNavs until now will continue after this merger, and that consumers will continue to benefit from new and innovative products," said EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

  TomTom is Europe's largest maker of car-navigation devices, often known as satellite navigation devices or SatNavs.

  Tele Atlas is one of two providers of navigable digital maps offering a complete coverage of Europe and North America. The other one is Chicago-based digital mapmaker Navteq.

  Navigable digital maps are essential inputs for SatNavs.

  TomTom launched a public bid to purchase all shares in Tele Atlas for 2.9 billion euros (about 4.5 billion U.S. dollars) last October.

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