BRUSSELS, Belgium — European Union antitrust regulators said Tuesday that they had put on hold an antitrust probe into miner BHP Billiton's mammoth bid for rival Rio Tinto Inc. because the companies have not provided information.

The regulators opened an in-depth investigation into the deal in July, saying they were worried about higher prices and reduced choice for European customers for metals and minerals.

That was originally scheduled to wrap up by Nov. 11 but the European Commission said it stopped the clock last week because the companies had not replied to a request for information regulators made last month.

Officials said they would set a new deadline once they had received the information they were looking for.

Billiton's unsolicited takeover of Rio Tinto would combine the No. 2 and No. 3 iron miners and allow them to overtake Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the world's largest iron ore miner.

Rio Tinto opposes the bid, saying BHP Billiton's offer undervalues it. Rio Tinto owns Kennecott Utah Copper.