China's Midea receives U.S. green light for Kuka takeover

A Kuka technician programs a robot arm of German industrial robot maker Kuka at the company's stand during the Hannover Fair in Hanover, Germany, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - China's Midea <000333.SZ> said it will complete its takeover of German robotics maker Kuka in the first half of January after the United States authorities gave the deal a green light. Midea, which launched a 4.5 billion euro ($5 billion) offer for Kuka in May, said Germany's markets regulator had approved the settlement of the transaction, allowing it to control a 94.55 percent voting stake in Kuka from January onwards. The bid for Kuka, a high-tech robotics manufacturer, sparked controversy in Germany amid fears that key technologies were falling into foreign hands at a time when China protects its own companies against foreign takeovers. Kuka said in a separate statement on Friday that the deal could now go ahead. "The United States government authorities Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls on December 29, 2016 have cleared the takeover of Kuka," Kuka said. The Chinese home appliances maker has sought to reassure Kuka staff about the takeover with a long-term agreement to keep its existing headquarters and management, and by saying it will allow Kuka to operate independently and help it expand in China. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by Tina Bellon and David Clarke)