The European Commission (EC) has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent by Nokia. Both companies are global providers of telecommunications equipment and related services. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the parties are not close competitors and since a number of strong global competitors will remain active after the transaction.
The Commission assessed the effects of the transaction on competition in the field of mobile network equipment, including Radio Access Network equipment (for connecting mobile devices to networks) and Core Network Systems (that for example route telephone calls and data traffic). The Commission found that, despite the merged entity having combined market shares around or above 30% for several specific types of equipment, the overlaps between the two companies' activities are effectively limited. Indeed, Nokia has a strong presence in the European Economic Area, where Alcatel-Lucent is a small player, and conversely Alcatel-Lucent has a strong presence in North America, where Nokia's activities are rather limited.
Moreover, several other strong players are active on the market: Ericsson and Huawei, which together with Nokia are the main players in Europe, along with the Chinese ZTE and the Korean Samsung. Although ZTE and Samsung currently have small market shares, the Commission considered that those market shares do not fully reflect the competitive importance of their offerings. In particular, Samsung is expected to play a more significant role in the near future in relation to the newest generation mobile telecommunications equipment (so-called 4G, currently being deployed, and 5G). Finally, the Commission's investigation did not find that the transaction would make it harder for new or small players to enter and expand in the market.
Nokia’s biggest acquisition would result in a supplier that surpasses Ericsson and Huawei in wireless-infrastructure revenue.