The Dutch brewer, Heineken, has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission for its purchase of a stake in the German brewer, Karlsberg.

Heineken made the acquisition through Brauholding International, a joint venture with German investment group, Schorghuber. Brauholding, which already produces Paulaner, Hacker-Pschoorr and Kulmbacher beers, is to acquire a 45% stake in Karlsberg, worth an estimated $100m.

Previously Heineken's presence in the German market had been limited in comparison with its strong position in other key European beer markets. This had been a factor in gaining EC approval. In addition to enhancing its position in Germany, Heineken will also sell Karlsberg brands in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Greece and the UK. But Heineken has agreed not to market the Karlsberg brands in France.