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Cisco's $28 billion Splunk deal set for March 13 EU antitrust decision

FILE PHOTO: Cisco Systems Inc office in San Jose, California

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators have set a March 13 deadline to decide whether to clear Cisco Systems' $28 billion bid for cybersecurity firm Splunk, according to a European Commission filing.

The technology deal, which was the biggest of last year, will help to reduce Cisco's reliance on its networking equipment business, which has faced supply chain issues and slowing demand in the post-pandemic period.

The EU competition watchdog can clear the deal with or without remedies after its preliminary review or it can open a full-scale investigation as the next step if it has serious concerns.

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Antitrust regulators, worried about large players strengthening their market power at the expense of smaller or new rivals, have taken a tough line on tech mergers.

San Jose, California-based Cisco already has a data-security partnership with Splunk, which counts Coca-Cola, Intel and Porsche among its more than 15,000 customers.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis)