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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Set to Approve Orange Takeover

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Commission is early this week expected to clear Mannesmann's proposed acquisition of British mobile-phone operator Orange PLC after the German company offered undertakings to allay fears of reduced competition in a small European country, a European Union source said Monday.

Commission spokesman Michael Tscherny declined to comment on the upcoming ruling, but said Friday the deal was not "a difficult case."

The deal would give the German engineering and telecommunications company a gateway to the British market and represent a giant step toward completing its aim of becoming Europe's top mobile phone business.

But it may not own Orange for very long if Vodafone Airtouch PLC's hostile takeover bid for Mannesmann succeeds.

Orange is Britain's third largest mobile phone operator, behind Vodafone and British Telecommunications PLC's Cellnet. Under EU and British law a company can not own two top wireless networks.