UPDATED 23/10: Nokia announced it has cleared its final major regulatory hurdle in its planned acquisition of rival Alcatel-Lucent, with the Finnish firm set to complete the deal in the first quarter of next year.
The French Ministry of Economy has approved the buy, a move Nokia says marks the “receipt of all required regulatory approvals.” It follows approval from China earlier this week.
Nokia has always put a timescale of H1 2016 on the deal, so today’s first quarter news is evidence that completion is well on track.
French signoff is significant, given Alcatel-Lucent’s status as a major national company. As part of its concessions to get the deal approved, Nokia previously said it will throw its weight behind Alcatel-Lucent’s Shift Plan, pledging to maintain employment in the country for at least two years after the transaction completes.
Nokia’s next step will be to file the Exchange Offer in France and the US, after which the transaction will still be subject to approval from shareholders. That shareholder meeting is due to be held 2 December.