The Federal Trade Commission approved Compaq Computer Corp.'s $9-billion purchase of Digital Equipment Corp., the largest acquisition ever in the computer industry. FTC spokeswoman Victoria Streitfeld said the commission had closed the investigation of the transaction, which was announced in January. In a letter by William Baer, antitrust enforcement chief, the FTC said it "reserves the right to take such action in the future as the public interest may require" to ensure that the combination does not hurt competition. Compaq's chief spokesman, Jim Finlaw, had no immediate comment. The combination of Houston-based Compaq with DEC, based in Maynard, Mass., was cleared in March by the European Commission. Compaq is betting the acquisition will help it take on IBM Corp. through Digital's high-performance computers and extensive services business. The transaction is subject to approval of Digital shareholders, who will vote next Thursday. In New York Stock Exchange trading, Digital Equipment shares closed unchanged at $55.13; Compaq rose 19 cents to close at $27.63.
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