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BERLIN (AP) — The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation of German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG's plan to sell its stainless steel division to Finland's Outokumpu Oyj, citing possible competition concerns.

ThyssenKrupp announced the planned €2.7 billion ($3.4 billion) deal to sell its Inoxum unit in January.

The European Union's executive Commission said Tuesday its preliminary investigation "indicated potential serious competition concerns in various markets for the production and distribution of stainless steel flat products."

It stressed that the opening of an in-depth probe doesn't prejudge the final outcome. The Commission has until Sept. 26 to make a final decision on whether the merger would reduce competition.

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