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Google executive chairman expects U.S. approval of Lenovo-Motorola deal

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[February 04, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters)  Google Inc Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt expressed confidence on Monday that Lenovo Inc would gain approval from U.S. regulators to buy Google's Motorola smart-phone hardware business in what would be China's biggest technology acquisition to date.

Schmidt said he saw "a good chance" of the deal passing muster with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which monitors acquisitions by overseas corporations.

Speaking at a dinner organized by the Cato Institute think tank, Schmidt said Lenovo's experience buying IBM's ailing personal computer division in 2005 would stand it in good stead as it seeks the green light to acquire the Motorola business.

"There's a good chance of it being OK," Schmidt said, adding, "We would not have done the transaction if we thought it would be in trouble."

Lenovo said last week it would acquire the Motorola handset business, along with some 2,000 patents, for $2.91 billion. That came days after an announcement the company would purchase IBM's low-end server unit for $2.3 billion.

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The deals will be reviewed by CFIUS to ensure they do not threaten national security.

(Reporting by Krista Hughes; editing by Peter Cooney)

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