IBM won unconditional clearance from European regulators for a $34 billion bid to acquire open source software company Red Hat, allowing it to press ahead with its largest deal to date.

The European Commission (EC) determined the transaction did not raise competition concerns, highlighting IBM’s stated plan to maintain and further develop Red Hat’s open source cloud projects.

When the deal was announced in October 2018, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (pictured, right) said it was a “game-changer”.

“This is the next chapter of the cloud. It requires shifting business applications to hybrid cloud, extracting more data and optimising every part of the business, from supply chains to sales.”

IBM said Red Hat staff will join its hybrid cloud team, but operate as a distinct unit to preserve the “independence and neutrality of Red Hat’s open source development heritage”.

Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and the remainder of the company’s management team will stay on to lead the unit’s efforts. Whitehurst will also join IBM’s senior management team, reporting to Rometty.