Nokia-Microsoft deal receives FTC nod

The US Federal Trade Commission (US FTC) has given its approval to the sale of Nokia's handset business to software giant Microsoft.

The US FTC's nod has cleared a major hurdle for an alliance between Microsoft and Nokia's hardware business.

The deal, worth around $7.2 billion, would see Microsoft take over the largest of its OEMs for its Windows Phone line of smartphones (See: Microsoft to acquire Nokia's handset business for $7.1 bn).

Nokia controls over 90 per cent of Windows Phone hardware sales, meaning that Microsoft was acquiring hegemony over its own platform.

The price, say commentators,  was something that Microsoft would be able to pay using offshore cash, a sum that Nokia would be more than happy receiving and Microsoft not minding paying. Microsoft according to commentators is uber cash rich at the moment and is looking at ways it could invest its excess monies.

In a statement Microsoft indicated that it was ''looking forward to the date when our partners at Nokia will become members of the Microsoft family, and are pleased that the Department of Justice has cleared the deal unconditionally.''

Meanwhile, there could be another hurdle for the deal, as the EU regulator's decision, expected today, could end up being postponed by up to 10 business days, as it needed more time to mull the various contours of the deal on competition.

Commentators say, with Nokia shareholders having overwhelmingly given a thumbs up to Microsoft's purchase plans last month (See: Nokia shareholders overwhelmingly approve sale of handset division to Microsoft), and with authorities in nations from the US to India giving already having approved it, the deal was all but through.

They say that even after the seemingly inevitable happens and the two companies do conclude the deal, questions would still remain as to just how Microsoft would integrate Nokia's products with its own.

(See: Finland seeks early resolution of Nokia's tax dispute in India)