TOKYO, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Japan's Fair Trade Commission said on Monday it had approved plans by Idemitsu Kosan Co to take a stake of just under a third in rival refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu KK.
Idemitsu has long planned to combined forces with Showa Shell but the deal remains troubled as the Idemitsu founding family has threatened to veto it once it is put up for shareholder approval.
The watchdog said it had approved plans for Idemitsu to take a stake of more than 20 percent but less than 50 percent. If Idemitsu wanted to take a stake of more than 50 percent or de facto integrate the companies, then another review would be required.
The Fair Trade Commission also approved plans by top oil refiner JX Holdings' to acquire rival TonenGeneral Sekiyu KK.
Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori and Emi Emoto; Editing by Edwina Gibbs