The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Sara Lee's European meat business by a joint venture between US-based Smithfield Foods and Oaktree Capital Management. 

Sara Lee Foods Europe and Smithfield Foods are both active in the production and sale of processed meats in Europe. The Commission concluded that the transaction would not impede competition in the EU. 

Smithfield produces and supplies live pigs, fresh meat and processed meat products. The majority of Smithfield's activities are in the US, but the company is also active in Europe through its French subsidiary Jean Caby SA.

SLFE, the European processed meat business of the US-based consumer products company Sara Lee Corporation, manufactures and distributes processed meat products, in particular processed pork meat products. Its brand portfolio includes the brands Aoste, Justin Bridou, Cochonou, Marcassou, Nobre and Meester Stegeman.

The deal, the EC said, would combine Sara Lee's meat business with Smithfield's French meat processing business. Smithfield's other European assets would, including activities in the UK, Romania and Poland, remain under Smithfield's control.

The Commission said: "The proposed operation would not significantly affect competition as the horizontal overlaps between the parties' processed meat activities in most of the EEA Member States would be limited. In the French market, where the most significant horizontal overlap takes place, the transaction would not give rise to any competition concerns as the combined firm would continue to face several effective competitors for all affected products."