Johnson & Johnson’s $16.6 billion purchase of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare

business is almost done and dusted after US antitrust authorities followed

their European counterparts by approving the deal.

The Federal Trade Commission says that any concerns about anti-competitive practices it may have had have been removed by a number of divestitures made by the firms. Boehringer Ingelheim is acquiring the US rights to Pfizer’s over-the-counter Zantac (ranitidine) product line for $510 million in cash, while five other brands were sold to Chattem in a $410 million deal. The FTC’s green light came a day after the European Commission gave its seal of approval.

J&J, which issued a statement saying that it expected the transaction to close before the end of the year, won a bidding war from the likes of GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser to get hold of the unit which had revenues of $3.9 billion last year. Its principal revenue drivers are the Listerine oral care products, the Nicorette line of smoking cessation agents and cough/cold products such as Sudafed and Benadryl.