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Google talks continuing, no antitrust decision yet: EU's Almunia

European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia gestures during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels Dece
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia gestures during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels Dece

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators have not yet made a decision in their case against Google and are still talking to the Internet search firm to resolve complaints that it used its clout to block rivals, the EU's competition chief said.

The world's most popular search engine offered concessions to the European Commission in July to try to head off a possible fine of up to $4 billion or 10 percent of its 2011 revenues if the regulators find Google breached the rules.

The EU executive Commission is examining the proposals before deciding whether to accept them or demand more.

"We are in the process of conversation with Google to try to reach a settlement, but we are not there yet," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a news conference on Wednesday.

Complainants against Google include Microsoft and smaller rivals in Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United States.

MARKET TEST FOR UPS-TNT DEAL

Almunia also said a market test of concessions proposed by U.S.-based UPS last Friday to allay regulatory worries over its proposed takeover of Dutch peer TNT showed competitors and third parties were not satisfied with the offer.

"We have come back to the parties, informing them of some of our concerns, given the result of the market test. They are in conversation with the case team, I am following very, very closely this conversation," he said.

Almunia's spokesman Antoine Colombani said the market test was continuing.

A person familiar with the matter said respondents still had till the end of the day to provide their feedback.

UPS has offered to sell assets and provide rivals with access to its planes, concessions which analysts say are unlikely to satisfy regulators.

Almunia said there was still time before the Commission decided on the takeover, suggesting that UPS could still sweeten its offer. The regulator has set a February 5 deadline for its decision.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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