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S.African regulators approve Anglo-De Beers deal

The South African anti-trust tribunal said Thursday it has approved a $5.1-billion deal by Anglo American to buy 40 percent of De Beers, allowing it to take control of the world’s largest diamond firm.

“There are no public interest concerns and the commission recommended that the merger be approved without conditions,” the Competition Tribunal said in a statement.

Anglo will buy the stake in De Beers held by South Africa’s Oppenheimer family, ending their presence in the diamond industry that has spanned more than a century.

It will increase Anglo’s current 45-percent shareholding in De Beers to 85 percent. The remaining 15 percent is held by the government of Botswana.

“There is no overlap in the business activities of the parties and Anglo American’s only interest in the diamond mining activity is through its interest in DBSA,” it said.

The deal was announced late last year and was formally approved by Anglo shareholders in January.

Last year, De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said the decision to sell the stake to Anglo was taken “after careful and deliberate consideration” and that it was in the best interests of the family.

Officially headquartered in Luxembourg, the firm is run from London and Johannesburg. It still has operations at Kimberley, where the first discoveries were made more than a century ago, as well as in Botswana.

The European Commission approved the deal in March.