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Chinese regulators still reviewing Googorola slurp

Officials giving no hint of whether approval will be forthcoming

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China's Ministry of Commerce said this morning that its antitrust bureau is still looking into Google's bid to slurp Motorola Mobility.

"The investigations and reviews are still under way. Any news will be disclosed in a timely manner," MoC spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference, according to China.org.cn.

The deal has already been approved by the US and European authorities, but the two firms also need the nod from China sometime before 20 March.

According to Chinese anti-monopoly laws, multinational firms need the government's approval for any marriage if their combined global revenues are more than 10 billion yuan ($1.59bn) and if the prospective spouses got more than 400 million yuan ($63.47m) in sales revenues their last annual report, or if their last annual revenues were more than 2 billion yuan ($31m).

Regulators in Taiwan and Israel also have to okay the deal based on their laws.

The US and the EU have both approved the acquisition, but said they'd be keeping a close eye on how Googorola handled its patents.

China is unlikely to hold up the merger, but it might use its current position as a favour in the bank with American and European powers.

"What China is extremely good at is identifying opportunities that can be leveraged as bargaining chips," an IT industry analyst in Beijing told Reuters.

"Chinese companies have been rebuffed in a number of attempts to make acquisitions in the US market," he said. "Any time China can be in an opposite position and say, 'You had your concerns and shut it down'... This cuts both ways." ®

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