U.S., EU Approve Google’s Acquisition of Motorola Mobility

Regulators in the United States and in Europe have given Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) the all-clear sign for its planned $12.5 billion purchase of handset manufacturer Motorola Mobility Holdings (NYSE:MMI), but authorities warn they will monitor the Web search company to make sure it does not misuse patents, according to a Reuters report.

Antitrust authorities in both the the U.S. and European Union are seeking to make sure companies license important telecommunications industry patents at prices that are fair to the competition, Reuters said.

“This merger decision should not and will not mean that we are not concerned by the possibility that, once Google is the owner of this portfolio, Google can abuse these patents, linking some patents with its Android devices. This is our worry,” said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

The approved Google acquisition was one of several on Monday, as technology companies continue their push to grow their patent portfolios. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) scored the U.S. Justice Department’s approval for its acquisition of patents previously held by Novell Inc., as well as approval for the company and the rest of a consortium to buy a number of patents from bankrupt Canadian company Nortel Networks Corp.

Google, whose Android platform is the leading operating system for smartphones, has planned since August to buy Motorola Mobility for its 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications in an effort to keep up with competitors like Apple and defend itself and Android phone makers in patent lawsuits.

The acquisition will be Google’s largest yet, and some investors are concerned that the company’s move to enter the hardware-making business may hurt its profit margins. However, Google has said it will operate Motorola Mobility as a separate business unit.

The acquisition is still awaiting approval from regulators in China, Taiwan, and Israel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com