EU regulators to rule on Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent deal by July 27

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators are scheduled to decide by July 27 whether to allow Finnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia to acquire French peer Alcatel-Lucent to become the number two player in the sector.

Nokia, which unveiled the 15.6-billion-euro ($17.70 billion)deal in April, sought EU approval last Friday, the European Commission said on its website.

The EU competition enforcer can either clear the deal unconditionally or extend the preliminary review by 10 working days to examine concessions which Nokia may offer in the event of regulatory concerns.

It can also open a full-scale investigation if it considers the deal could reduce competition. U.S. antitrust authorities cleared the deal unconditionally last week after earlier approvals in Brazil and Serbia.

The merged company would rank behind market leader and Swedish peer Ericsson but ahead of Chinese rival Huawei [HWT.UL].

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)

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