By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. aerospace and industrial company United Technologies Corp <UTX.N> is set to win EU approval for the largest aerospace deal in history - a $23 billion bid for avionics maker Rockwell Collins <COL.N>, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The deal, announced in September last year, would create a new player in the top echelon of suppliers to Boeing <BA.N>, Airbus <AIR.PA>, Bombardier <BBDb.TO> and other plane makers.
The takeover would give UTC, maker of Pratt & Whitney jet engines, more leverage to resist pressure from plane makers seeking price cuts.
Rockwell Collins' software capability would also give UTC an edge in data crunching that allows airlines to spot problems in engines and other components before they fail.
UTC has offered to sell assets to address the European Commission's concerns, the people said, declining to provide details. Analysts had said the deal could face a bumpier road in the EU than in the United States because of the merged company's size and market power.
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The EU competition enforcer, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by May 4, and UTC declined to comment.
UTC cleared a hurdle last month after key client Boeing said it had provided consent to the deal after raising initial concerns. Analysts said the combined company could make more than 50 percent of the systems content on a Boeing 787 aircraft by dollar value.
A source close to Airbus had told Reuters it had concerns about the merger. Problems at Pratt & Whitney have delayed European aircraft deliveries, and Airbus has publicly warned UTC to focus on delivering jet engines on time.
Rockwell Collins' <COL.N> businesses are in avionics, seats and plane interiors. This is the second engines-to-seating supplier deal after French jet engine maker Safran <SAF.PA> acquired seat maker Zodiac Aerospace <ZODFF.PK> last year.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Elaine Hardcastle)