The European Commission has extended its review of Johnson & Johnson’s proposed acquisition of Pfizer’s consumer health business unit in order to give it more time to explore the possible effect of the transaction on competition in the marketplace.

The EC said it will now rule on the deal by December 11, two weeks after its original deadline of November 27, and said it needed the time to look over some possible solutions to antitrust concerns that had been proposed by the two companies.

J&J won a bidding war to purchase the unit in June with a $16.6 billion cash bid that reportedly saw off competition from the likes of GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser.

The offer gives J&J a global personal care and over-the-counter medicines business with revenues of $3.9 billion last year from brands such as the Listerine oral care range and the Nicorettte line of smoking cessation agents, and cough/cold products such as Sudafed and Benadryl, as well as US rights to antihistamine Zyrtec (cetirizine) when it switches to over-the-counter status next year. J&J's own non-prescription business includes the Tylenol, Neutrogena and Band-Aid brands.