May 5, 2015 / 9:10 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. allows merger of ZF Friedrichshafen, TRW with divestitures

(Adds details divestitures demanded, background on deal)

By Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON, May 5 (Reuters) - German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG won U.S. antitrust approval for its $13.5 billion takeover of TRW Automotive Holdings Corp on condition that certain TRW assets are sold, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

The companies won approval from Europe for their deal in March.

ZF and TRW are two of the three companies in North America that make tie rods, which connect a car’s wheels with the steering mechanism, the FTC said. To win antitrust approval for the transaction, the companies agreed to sell Michigan-based TRW’s linkage and suspension business in North America and Europe.

The deal, which was announced in September, has been viewed as a way for ZF to bulk up and expand into the potentially lucrative self-driving car market.

Self-driving cars and the technology to develop them have also attracted interest from Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Apple, pitting them against traditional carmakers. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Eric Beech and Peter Cooney)

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