EC agrees TomTom's takeover of Tele Atlas

Navigation device make TomTom won European Union approval to buy mapmaker Tele Atlas with regulators saying it was unlikely the deal would limit competition, an Associated Press report said.

Netherlands-based TomTom has built up a 29.9% stake in Tele Atlas since it started bidding for the Dutch digital mapmaker last summer in a deal worth €2.9 billion (US$4.5 billion), the report said.

Nokia then followed with a €5.23 billion (US$8.1 billion) for Tele Atlas's only major rival, Chicago-based digital mapmaker Navteq, in a deal that is also still under investigation by EU antitrust regulators.

The European Commission said its careful probe of the TomTom deal looked at whether the new company, which effectively forms a duopoly with Navteq, would be able to hike prices or limit access to the digital maps used by other portable navigation device makers, the report said.

The new company 'would have no incentive to restrict access to digital maps because the sales of digital maps lost by Tele Atlas would not be compensated by additional sales of personal navigation devices,' it said.