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TomTom Completes Tele Atlas Acquisition

Dutch navigational company sealed its arduous $4.3 billion takeover bid of digital mapmaker Tele Atlas NV.

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) -- TomTom sealed its arduous $4.3 billion takeover bid of digital mapmaker Tele Atlas NV, the Dutch navigational company said Thursday.

Amsterdam-based TomTom NV said in a statement it has accumulated more than 97 percent of Tele Atlas shares via open market purchases and from shareholders who tendered to TomTom's 30 euro ($46.27) per share offer.

TomTom has fought for nearly a year to land Tele Atlas. It had a bidding contest with its U.S. rival Garmin Ltd., intense regulatory scrutiny from the European Union and its own problems internally as the selling price of its products fell sharply.

Although some analysts believe TomTom overpaid for Tele Atlas, the strategic rationale for the deal is clear: a closer integration of maps and the devices that display them.

With control of Tele Atlas's database, TomTom will be able to use information from its users in the field to improve maps in various ways -- including live traffic updates from the field.

TomTom's shares have fallen by more than 50 percent since the deal was announced due to the business slowdown and fears it has taken on too much debt to finance the Tele Atlas buy.

Its shares traded 0.8 percent higher Thursday at 23.52 euros ($36.34).

TomTom said it would make a new offer to Tele Atlas shareholders to tender shares on the same terms as its previous bid until July 1. Then it will initiate proceedings to "squeeze out" additional remaining holdouts and terminate Tele Atlas's stock market listing in Amsterdam.

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