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UK competition watchdog probes $61 billion Broadcom-VMware deal

The Broadcom Limited company logo is shown outside one of their office complexes in Irvine, California

(Reuters) - Britain's competition regulator said on Wednesday it had started the first phase of an investigation into U.S. chipmaker Broadcom Inc's $61 billion acquisition of cloud-computing firm VMware Inc.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in November it was investigating whether the deal between the two U.S.-listed companies could substantially hurt competition in Britain, adding that it had until March 22 to decide.

The Broadcom-VMware deal was one of the biggest announcements globally in 2022, marking the chipmaker's attempt to diversify into the enterprise software segment.

Tech deals have drawn intense scrutiny from regulators around the world on concerns over too much market clout in the hands of a few firms and the possibility of bigger companies acquiring startups only to shut them down.

Broadcom and VMware did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Vinay Dwivedi)