China’s Ministry of Commerce conditionally clears Google’s acquisition of Motorola
On 19 May 2012, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced its conditional approval of the acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings by Google. China was the final jurisdiction to clear this transaction, thus removing the last hurdle for the US$12.5 billion deal. MOFCOM is the only competition regulator to impose remedies on its clearance of the transaction, with the US Department of Justice, European Commission, and other authorities unconditionally approving the transaction.
Three obligations have been imposed:
- Google must continue its current practice of keeping the Android platform free of charge and open;
- Google must treat all original equipment manufacturers in a non-discriminatory manner with regard to its Android platform;
- Google must honour Motorola Mobility’s existing commitment to license its patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (‘FRAND’) terms.
Google must also report to MOFCOM and the monitoring trustee every six months regarding its performance of these obligations over the next five years.
The decision represents another example of China’s divergence from EU and US competition law regimes.