UPDATE 1-Nokia says very confident on Navteq buy

Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:31am EDT

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By Tarmo Virki

HELSINKI, April 11 (Reuters) - Nokia (NOK1V.HE) is confident its $8.1 billion offer for U.S. digital maps firm Navteq NVT.N will be approved by the European Commission, a senior Nokia official said on Friday.

"We are very confident it will happen. There is very constructive dialogue going on with the regulator," Niklas Savander, the head of Nokia's Internet services business, told a news conference in Helsinki.

Last month the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation into Nokia's proposed acquisition. Nokia has received all other necessary approvals for the deal, including from the United States authorities. The transaction would give Nokia, which is looking for new revenue sources as the mobile phone industry matures, a stronghold in the navigation business, one of the fastest-growing segments in the technology industry.

It is also one of the cornerstones of Nokia's new push towards Internet services, where the cellphone maker expects to benefit from close access to maps, the value of which it expects to rise through adding context, such as geographical data, to its Internet services.

"This is a major disruptive business opportunity to us. First of all to take the business away from personal navigation device makers, but more importantly there is the opportunity in contextual web," Savander said.

The Commission said last month its initial market investigation has indicated that the proposed merger raises serious doubts with regard to competition concerns.

The Commission now has until the Aug. 8 to take a final decision on whether the proposed transaction would significantly impede effective competition within the European Economic Area or a significant part of it.

TomTom (TOM2.AS), the world's top maker of car navigation devices, has its own proposed deal to buy digital maps maker Tele Atlas TA.AS under scrutiny by the EU's executive arm. (Reporting by Tarmo Virki, editing by Will Waterman)