The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it had unconditionally approved Nestle S.A.'s $3-billion acquisition of Carnation Co., clearing the way for what will become the largest non-oil merger in history.
The approval, by a 4-1 vote, now allows Nestle, a giant Swiss-based food conglomerate, to complete its $83-a-share cash tender offer begun last Sept. 5 for all outstanding shares of Los Angeles-based Carnation, a diversified food company specializing in dairy, pet and container products.
That offer had been extended to Jan. 21, presumably to allow time for the FTC approval.
Approval had been generally expected but there was some doubt among industry analysts whether or not the FTC would require divestitures or other conditions that conceivably could have made the merger unattractive to Nestle.
FTC Approval Required
Last year, Nestle dropped plans to acquire CooperVision Inc., an eye-care products company, after the FTC said it would oppose the deal.