European regulators have waved through Merck KGaA’s $17-billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich, keeping plans for deal completion on track for mid-year.

EU clearance, which remains subject to certain conditions, including the sale of parts of Sigma-Aldrich’s solvents and inorganics business in the region, follows recent antitrust approvals in Japan and China and before that in the US, Taiwan, South Africa, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.

Merck unveiled its intention to buy the US life sciences group back in September last year, claiming that the move would offer customers around the world with “a highly attractive set of established brands and an efficient supply chain that can support the delivery of more than 300,000 products”. 

In the Laboratory & Academia business, Merck Millipore and Sigma-Aldrich will offer a complementary range of products across laboratory chemicals, biologics and reagents, while in pharma and biopharma production, the acquisition will complement Merck’s existing products and capabilities with additions along the entire value chain of drug production and validation, the firm said.