The controversial $13.8 billion acquisition of Quaker Oats by Pepsico got the green light yesterday after a pivotal vote by Federal Trade Commissioners tied 2-2. The voting was said to be along party lines with chairman Timothy Muris – a Republican – abstaining because of his past legal links with PepsiCo.

Although a dead heat, the FTC requires a clear majority if a takeover is to be blocked by antitrust enforcers. Nor, without such a majority, could the deal be challenged in court.

The way is now clear for Pepsico to snatch Quaker and, in particular, its flagship sports drink brand Gatorade, without the need to make major antitrust concessions. Sales of Gatorade last year exceeded $2bn.

News source: Wall Street Journal