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TomTom Wins US Approval to Buy Tele Atlas

TomTom, the world's biggest maker of car navigation devices, said on Tuesday US competition authorities had approved its planned takeover of digital map maker Tele Atlas.

The Dutch company, which launched a 21.25 euros per share or 1.8 billion euros ($2.56 billion) bid for Tele Atlas earlier this month, said in a statement it was preparing a filing with the European Commission for a competition review.

TomTom, which competes with US-based Garmin , wants to buy Tele Atlas to improve its digital maps and analysts have said the takeover could balance out the likely long-term decline in TomTom's profit margins.

US-based Navteq , Tele Atlas's main competitor, agreed earlier this month to an $8.1 billion takeover by Nokia as the Finnish cellphone maker seeks to benefit from one of the fastest growing segments in the technology industry.

Shares in Tele Atlas fell 2.2 percent to 22.80 euros but were still above TomTom's offer price as investors bet on a higher, rival bid or TomTom raising its bid after the Nokia deal.

TomTom shares were down 1.5 percent at 53.46 euros.

The tender period for Tele Atlas shares runs until Dec. 4 and TomTom has said it plans to declare the offer unconditional if 80 percent of Tele Atlas shares are tendered.

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