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S.Africa approves Wal-Mart takeover of local chain

South Africa’s anti-trust tribunal on Tuesday approved Wal-Mart’s bid for a 51 percent stake in local firm Massmart, on condition the US retail giant not lay off any workers for two years.

“We have decided to approve the merger subject to the undertakings made by the parties becoming conditions for the approval,” the tribunal said in a statement.

“The merged entity must ensure that there are no retrenchments, based on the merged entity’s operational requirements in South Africa, resulting from the merger for a period of two years.”

In January, Wal-Mart signed a $2.5-billion (1.87-billion-euro) offer for a controlling stake in Massmart, which runs nine wholesale and retail chains with 288 stores in 14 African countries.

The deal raised concerns from South Africa’s politically powerful unions over labour practices at the world’s largest retailer.