EU statement of objections against TomTom-Tele Atlas deal?

According to information gathered by Reuters and published yesterday, the European Commission might have sent a so-called “statement of objections” to TomTom regarding the acquisition of Tele Atlas. The European Commission is currently thoroughly investigating the deal. As it has said publicly in November, when extending the investigation period: “The proposed acquisition raises vertical competition concerns because TomTom acquires one of the current two map suppliers that provide maps for the whole of Europe''.

Statement of objections

A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressee of a Statement of Objections can reply in writing to the Statement of Objections, setting out all facts known to it which are relevant to its defense against the objections raised by the Commission. The party may also request an oral hearing to present its comments on the case.

The Commission may then take a decision on whether conduct addressed in the Statement of Objections is compatible or not with the EC Treaty’s antitrust rules. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure. The deadline for a decision is set to May 5.

TomTom-Tele Atlas & Nokia-Navteq
If it is proved that the Commission sent a statement of objections to TomTom then TomTom will probably have to offer new remedies to demonstrate its good will in the acquisition of Tele Atlas and how it can maintain fair pricing of map data to its competitors once the deal is completed.

On February 19th, Nokia has filed its own documents to the European Commission regarding the acquisition of Navteq. It is pretty sure the Finnish company will go through the same scrutiny TomTom is facing today. As a consequence this acquisition is far too be finalized too.

Sunday, March 2nd 2008

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