Punch Taverns has escaped action from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) over its takeover of managed pub group Spirit.
In a statement the OFT said that, on the information currently available to it, it would not be referring Punch to the Competition Commission.
Punch bought Spirit for £2.7b last year, although the deal was not completed until January 2006.
At the time the deal gave Punch 9,500 pubs, although it has since disposed of a few hundred to head off competition fears.
It has plans to convert at least 750 Spirit pubs and is carrying out a review of the remaining 1,000 plus units.
The pub giant is likely to sell off some of the larger pub sites to managed pub rivals such as Mitchells & Butlers or Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.
By Chris Druce
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