In November 2006 the EC began an indepth investigation as Thales is a manufacturer of travelling wave tubes, a key satellite component. The EC was concerned that this transfer of joint venture ownership could have a detrimental effect on the downstream satellite and subsystem rivals.
Telespazio and Alcatel Alenia Space were joint ventures between Alcatel and Finmeccanica. The conclusion of the investigation was that the transfer of ownership to Thales would be unlikely to lead to the company having an ability to reduce competition.
EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes says, "This merger creates a complex vertical structure in an industry involving highly technical products but the Commission has investigated it thoroughly and is satisfied that the existing strong competition on the markets for telecommunications satellites and subsystems will not be adversely affected."