EU gives nod to Microsoft's $8.5B Skype acquisition

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The European Union, as expected, has approved Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) $8.5 billion acquisition of VoIP provider Skype, meaning the company has cleared the last major hurdle to closing the deal it proposed in May. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission already has OK'd the purchase.

Despite some concerns that a Microsoft-Skype tie-up would impact competition in the European VoIP market, European regulators disagreed.

"The European Commission has cleared under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of the Internet voice and video communication provider Skype by Microsoft because the deal would not significantly impede effective competition," a release from the EU said, pointing out that the market--and the number of companies competing in the space--has grown.

"This is an important milestone, as we've now received clearance from both the United States and the European Union," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said. "We look forward to completing soon the final steps needed to close the acquisition."

Microsoft plans to integrate Skype services into a number of its products, including the Xbox, Kinect, Windows Phone and other Windows devices, as well as services like Lync, Outlook and Xbox Live.

For more:
- see this Seattle Times article

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