The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Vertex Standard of Japan by the US-based communications technologies operator Motorola. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it.

Motorola is active in wireless and broadband communications technologies and embedded electronic products. Through its Enterprise Mobility Solutions business unit, Motorola is also active in two-way radios. Vertex Standard is active in the design, manufacture and sale of two-way radios.

A two-way radio is one that can both transmit and receive. Within two-way radios, land mobile radio (LMRs) should be distinguished from "amateur" radios (known as "hams") and within LMRs, consumer products should be distinguished from professional LMRs. The latter are purchased by companies and organisations such as fire-fighters and police officers for professional use and are more powerful products with a greater range than consumer LMRs.

The Commission's examination of the proposed transaction showed that the focus of the two merging parties as regards two-way radios is different. Motorola is mostly active in LMRs, especially professional ones, whereas Vertex Standard is more focussed on "hams" and has limited activities in LMRs.

The Commission found that the merger would slightly increase Motorola's position in the market as regards professional LMRs, especially on a worldwide basis, but it does not raise competition concerns in the marketplace. Other players (such as Kenwood and iCOM) are viewed by the market as closer competitors to Motorola compared to Vertex Standard in this sector. In addition, the main thrust of Vertex Standard is on analogue technology products, whereas Motorola tends to focus on the mid to high tier products, for example professional LMRs for wide-area networks embedding digital technology. [21 December 2007]