EXCLUSIVE Volkswagen set to get unconditional EU nod for Europcar deal

BRUSSELS, May 18 (Reuters) – A group led by Europe’s largest carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval for its 2.9-billion-euro ($3 billion) bid for French car rental company Europcar (EUCAR.PA), two people familiar with the matter said.

Volkswagen teamed up with asset manager Attestor Limited and Dutch mobility group Pon Holdings BV last year to launch the bid for French-listed Europcar, placing a bet on fast-growing mobility services.

With an international network in more than 140 countries and a fleet of over 350,000 vehicles, Europcar would help Volkswagen to increase its presence in lucrative mobility services. Carmakers are looking to car data as the next money spinner.

Volkswagen’s 2030 strategy announced last year anticipates software and services will spur growth in the global automotive market, which it estimates will more than double in value to 5 trillion euros by the end of the decade.

The European Commission, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by May 25, declined to comment.

Volkswagen also declined to comment. Chief Executive Herbert Diess last week told shareholders that he expected EU approval by the end of the second quarter.

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Reporting by Foo Yun Chee, additional reporting by Jan Schwartz in Hamburg; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Barbara Lewis