The London markets watchdog today gave its blessing to the £9bn (€12.9bn) takeover of Abbey National by Spanish bank Santander Central Hispano.
In a statement, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it had no objections to the tie-up following an examination lasting more than a month.
The move was seen as a formality after the FSA said last month that it saw “no material impediments” to the takeover, which is due to completed next Friday.
The FSA is tasked with considering whether the interests of consumers will be threatened when there is a change of control at a listed company in the UK.
It must also decide whether the buyer is “fit and proper” to run the enlarged company, weighing up factors such as its business strategy and cash reserves.
The spotlight will now fall on the High Court in the UK which is expected to sanction the takeover next week.
Shareholders of both banks have already given their approval and the deal has given the green light by the European Commission.
The tie-up will create the fourth largest bank in Europe and the eighth largest in the world.