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U.S. puts conditions on Honeywell's Intermec purchase

A view of the corporate sign outside the Honeywell International Automation and Control Solutions manufacturing plant in Golden Valley, Minnesota, January 28, 2010. REUTERS/ Eric Miller

By Ros Krasny

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities on Friday cleared Honeywell International's proposed purchase of mobile computing device maker Intermec on the condition that Honeywell license to a competitor certain key patents used in barcode scanners.

"Although divestiture of assets is the preferred remedy in merger cases, licensing requirements can preserve competition in markets where access to needed technology is the main barrier to entry," said Deborah Feinstein, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

The FTC will require New Jersey based conglomerate Honeywell to license to Italy's Datalogic IP TECH s.r.l. patents used to make two-dimensional bar code scanners for the next 12 years.

"The proposed order gives Datalogic access to the patents it needs to enter the U.S. market immediately and restore the competition lost due to the merger," Feinstein said.

Intermec, headquartered in Everett, Washington, makes radio frequency identification (RFID) readers as well as retail barcode scanners and other related items.

The $600 million deal was approved by the EU in June. Regulators there said the transaction would not raise competition concerns because of the existence of credible competitors in relevant markets.

The merger was approved by Intermec shareholders in March.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Honeywell closed 0.33 percent higher at $84.06 and Intermec rose 1.3 percent to $10.01.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Richard Chang)