(Reuters) - Australia's competition regulator on Thursday approved a A$23.6 billion ($16.92 billion) takeover of Sydney Airport Holdings, bringing one of the country's biggest buyouts closer to fruition.
Sydney Airport last month agreed to be bought out by Sydney Aviation Alliance (SAA), comprising IFM Investors, QSuper, AustralianSuper and U.S.-based Global Infrastructure Partners.
An assessment of cross-ownership between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide airports found limited competition, making it unlikely for any one consortium member to gain control of an airport, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Thursday.
The deal was unlikely to lessen competition as a result, the ACCC said. It also did not demand IFM divest its stakes in Australian airports.
IFM has stakes in nine airports across the country, including a more than 25% share in Melbourne and a 20% interest in Brisbane.
In a separate statement, Sydney Airport noted the ACCC's statement and said the deal was also approved by the European Commission. It still needs a go-ahead from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board and the company's shareholders.
($1 = 1.3949 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)