Google has petitioned the European Union's executive arm for approval of its Motorola Mobility merger, but don't expect a decision this year.
According to information posted today on the European Commission's Web site, Google provided official notification on Friday about its planned merger. In response, the European Commission has promised to review the merger over the next several weeks and to make a decision about the deal by January 10.
Google announced plans earlier this year to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. In addition to the European Union's approval, Google must get a nod from U.S. regulators to complete the acquisition.
Over the last several months, Google has clarified its plans for Motorola Mobility. Rather than enter the hardware business as some have suspected, the search giant says that it's simply buying Motorola for its patents and will allow the handset maker to operate independently.
"I don't think you should consider Google's acquisition of Motorola as Google entering the hardware business," Google Android chief Andy Rubin said in an interview last month. "This is going to be an arm's length thing...Motorola isn't going to get any special treatment."
For their part, Motorola shareholders couldn't be happier about the deal. Earlier this month, 99 percent of the voting shares came down in favor of the acquisition, paving the way for the merger to close in early 2012.