The European Commission has approved, without conditions, Bayer's planned 16.5 billion-euro acquisition of fellow German drugmaker Schering AG.

US antitrust clearance for the deal was received in April, and this now leaves Bayer free to complete the purchase, which carries the condition that there is a minimum 75% acceptance by shareholders.

Bayer's pharma business would be transformed by the acquisition, which would create a unit with 9 billion euros in sales, a broader portfolio in specialty medicines in areas such as cardiovascular, oncology and reproductive health and a bolstered pipeline. it would rank as the 12th-largest drugmaker in the world.