(Reuters) - Google said on Saturday that Chinese authorities have approved its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility Holdings, the last regulatory hurdle to a deal that would allow the world’s No. 1 Internet search engine to develop its own line of smart phones.
Google, which will be the newest entrant to the handset market, announced plans for the acquisition last year in a bid to secure Motorola’s valuable patents and pave the way for a pairing of Google’s Android mobile software and Motorola’s handset business.
U.S. and European regulators approved the deal in February, leaving only the Chinese regulators as potential spoilers.
“Our stance since we agreed to acquire Motorola has not changed, and we look forward to closing the deal,” Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said, confirming that the Chinese had approved the deal.
Google, whose Android software is the top operating system for Internet-enabled smart phones, wants phone-maker Motorola for its 17,000 patents and 7,500 patent applications, as it looks to compete with rivals such as Apple Inc. and defend itself and Android phone manufacturers in patent litigation.
A main condition of the deal is that the Android system remain free and open for five years, said a source who is familiar with the Chinese approval but not authorized to discuss it.
“We are pleased that the deal has received approval in all jurisdictions and we expect to close early next week,” Motorola spokeswoman Jennifer Weyrauch-Erickson said.
Reporting By Kyle Peterson; Editing by Paul Simao