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EU extends review of Lufthansa bid for Brussels Air

The European Commission has extended its review of a bid by Germany's Lufthansa to buy smaller Belgian rival Brussels Airlines, the EU's competition watchdog said.

The Commission said the deadline for its review of the deal, worth up to €250 million ($337 million), had been extended to January 26 from January 12 so it could examine commitments aimed at remedying concerns the transaction may be anti-competitive.

The announcement was made in a daily list of mergers under review by the Commission, which polices competition in the 27-country European Union. It gave no further details.

The acquisition, announced in September, would allow the German carrier to expand its flight network and add premium travelers.

Brussels Airlines would bring a prime location where the European Union and NATO are based, logistics experience and a wide network, notably including many flights to and from Africa.

Lufthansa has said it plans to buy a 45% stake in the Belgian airline for €65 million, with an option to buy the rest from 2011.

The total price would depend on performance-related factors and initially on 2010 results, the carrier said when the deal was announced. (Reuters)