MOUNTAIN VIEW (CBS/AP) — U.S. regulators have approved Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility Holdings. Monday’s clearance comes just a few hours after European antitrust regulators gave their blessing.

The Justice Department ended a six-month review of the deal after concluding it won’t stifle competition in the mobile device market. European regulators reached the same conclusion.

The regulatory green lights mean Google Inc. can take control of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. if it can win government approvals in China, Taiwan and Israel.

China looms as the biggest stumbling block, given Google’s shaky relationship with the government there.

Google Inc. prizes Motorola’s more than 17,000 patents—a crucial weapon in an intellectual arms race with Apple, Microsoft and other rivals to gain more control over smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Motorola’s patents would help shield Google’s Android operating system from lawsuits alleging intellectual theft.

The clearances announced Monday removes key hurdles to Google completing the biggest deal in its 13-year history.

Google said it hopes to complete the Motorola acquisition early this year. The deal was announced six months ago.

In granting its approval, the European Union raised concerns about Motorola’s aggressive enforcement of its patents.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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