Tech Industry

Google, Motorola merger review put on hold in Europe

EU regulators have halted their review of Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition while they gather more information about the deal.

The European Commission has put a temporary hold on its review of Google's proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility as it seeks more details about the deal.

The EC, which is the executive arm and the antitrust authority for the European Union , had originally intended to render a thumbs up or thumbs down on the deal by January 10. But the Commission halted its review on December 6, according to a notification on its Web site.

The Commission will continue the review after it has obtained "certain documents that are essential to its evaluation of the transaction," Amelia Torres, a representative for the Brussels-based European Commission, said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Requests for more information aren't uncommon in a merger of this size, especially in the midst of antitrust concerns. Google only provided the EC with its official notification about the prospective deal on November 25.

Some have feared that the merger would give Motorola an edge in the Android arena or give Google a direct entry into the hardware business. But the search giant has insisted that its sole purpose in buying Motorola is to gain access to Motorola patents and that it will continue to allow the mobile phone maker to act as an independent company.

Google has found itself at a disadvantage in patent lawsuits since it doesn't hold a huge number of patents itself. In contrast, Motorola Mobility carries more than 17,000 approved patents and would provide Google with some muscle in the courts.

Google is currently sparring with Oracle in a patent infringement suit over Android's use of Java. Several Android vendors, including Motorola Mobility, HTC, and Samsung, have also faced lawsuits from Apple over alleged patent violations between Android and iOS devices. With more patent ammunition, Google could better support its vendors in such suits.

Motorola did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment. But a Google representative sent CNET the following statement:

"The European Commission has asked for more information, which is routine, while they review our Motorola Mobility acquisition. We're confident the Commission will conclude that this acquisition is good for competition and we'll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review."

Updated at 5:00 a.m. PT on December 13 with a statement from Google.