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The European Union has confirmed that it is to conduct an ‘in depth’ probe into the planned acquisition of Arianespace by a consortium led by Airbus Group and French-based rocket engine specialists Safran.
The two technology giants had planned to acquire launch company Arianespace, and in the process compensate the French state which itself controls 35 per cent of Arianespace via the state-owned CNES space agency.
Airbus and Safran together already own 39 per cent of the Arianspace and are responsible for manufacturing most of the body, fuselage, components and engines used in each Ariane rocket.
Regulators say they are concerned that giving Airbus Safran majority control of Arianespace could affect competition, such as discriminating against satellite manufacturers competing with Airbus.
The European Commission has until July to make a decision on the deal