The European Commission on Friday opted to take a closer look at a plan by German automotive air conditioner maker Behr to form a joint venture with Germany's Hella KG Hueck, a supplier of automotive lighting and electronics components, Dow Jones reported.

The Commission expanded its review to a full investigation, "because more information has come to light," a Commission spokeswoman told the news agency.

Dow Jones noted that, under the Commission's simplified procedure, merger and takeover deals are cleared automatically after one month if no third party complains. In a full investigation, however, Commission antitrust officials study the deal's potential impact on competitiveness in the market. The Commission's deadline for a decision is still 24 November.

If cleared, the joint venture will be called Behr Hella Service and will focus on the upkeep and enhancement of automotive air-conditioning and engine cooling parts, the report said. It is expected to begin operations in Europe and Asia at the end of 2005, Dow Jones noted.

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