BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) — European Union regulators on Thursday cleared a bid by car parts maker Continental AG to buy Siemens AG auto electronics unit, saying its investigation had removed doubts that the deal could hurt rivals.
Germany's Continental will pay 11.4 billion euros ($16.6 billion) to buy Siemens' VDO division, which makes electronics that control car brakes.
The deal broadens Continental's product range, making it the fifth-largest electronics supplier to the global car industry behind Bosch, Denso, Delphi and Magna.
The European Commission said it was initially worried that the companies were combining rival offerings for electronic control units, which could cut back fair competition.
But it said that discussions with suppliers, rivals and customers showed that there were plenty of alternative products and potential new rivals for electronic control units made to control motors in heavy commercial diesel vehicles, air suspension systems and electric parking brakes.
Continental manufactures brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics and tires and employs some 89,000 workers worldwide.
VDO has annual sales of approximately 10 billion euros ($14 billion). Former owner Siemens is Europe's biggest engineering company, making everything from cell phone network components to trains.