Fiat wins EU clearance to buy Chrysler

July 24, 2009

CHRYSLER-PRODUCTION/BRUSSELS, July 24 (Reuters) – The European Commission on Friday unconditionally approved the purchase of bankrupt U.S. automaker Chrysler LLC by Italy’s Fiat SpA, saying the transaction would not damage competition in Europe.
The executive arm of the 27-nation European Union said in a statement that the deal would not change the competitive structure of markets for the manufacture and supply of cars.
“The Commission’s examination of the transaction showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of Chrysler and Fiat are limited,” the statement said.
“As Chrysler is not present on the upstream markets concerned, the transaction would not strengthen the market position of the merged entity or the extent of its vertical integration,” it said.
Chrysler filed for bankruptcy in April and announced an industry-changing deal with Fiat, after being pummelled by sliding auto sales and unable to reach agreement on restructuring its debt.
Fiat, the diversified Italian industrial group, acquired an initial 20 percent stake in Chrysler and entered into a number of agreements with the company to provide it with access to certain Fiat technology, platforms and power trains.
Despite Fiat’s stake of only 20 percent, which it may increase in future, Fiat holds rights in the decision-making process of the U.S. firm that will enable it to exercise sole control, the Commission said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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