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Exclusive: Alitalia, Etihad deal likely to be cleared by end-2014 - source

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[September 02, 2014] BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Italian airline Alitalia and Etihad Airways are expected to seek European Union antitrust approval for their deal this month and win clearance by the end of the year after minor concessions, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad clinched a deal last month to buy 49 percent of lossmaking Alitalia for 1.76 billion euros ($2.31 billion), giving it access to Europe's fourth-largest travel market and 25 million passengers.

"The deal is expected to be notified to the European Commission this month. It should be conditional phase 1 clearance," said the person who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

A phase 1 review by the EU antitrust authority lasts 25 working days, which is extended by 10 additional working days if companies offer concessions to allay competition concerns.

($1 = 0.7624 Euros)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Martin Santa)

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