AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- The proposed merger of Chrysler Corp. (NYSE:C - news) with Daimler (DAIR - news)-Benz AG of Germany, maker of Mercedes Benz cars, has received the blessing of U.S. regulators.
``They have cleared the antitrust hurdles,'' Federal Trade Commission spokeswoman Victoria Streitfeld said Thursday.
The approval came one week after the European Union endorsed the merger. ``We have now satisfied the antitrust requirements in both countries,'' Chrysler spokeswoman Lori McTavish said.
Requests for regulatory approvals are still pending or yet to be filed in several other countries where the merged company will do business, McTavish said. But the FTC and European Union approvals are the most significant.
The FTC granted the companies an ``early termination'' of the 30-day waiting period for evaluation of large mergers, which does not require a vote of the full commission. Such approvals are granted if the agency's staff determines there is not enough evidence that the merger would have anticompetitive effects to warrant further investigation.
The two automakers announced plans May 7 to form a new company called DaimlerChrysler AG. The stock transaction is valued at about $36 billion.
``This approval is great news for both companies,'' Chrysler Chairman Robert J. Eaton said in a statement. ``The FTC review was one of the principal regulatory hurdles that both of us faced.''
The next step in the process is the mailing of a special proxy statement to shareholders, which may come next week. Shareholders of both companies will hold meetings in Wilmington, Del., and Stuttgart, Germany, on Sept. 18 to vote on the proposal.
Daimler-Benz Chief Executive Juergen Schrempp said last week that the merger would be completed in November or December.