FedEx and its Dutch-based takeover target TNT Express say that the European Commission does not object to their 4.4 billion euro ($5 billion) agreement, paving the way for the deal to be completed in the first half of next year.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, both companies say they "have been informed by the European Commission that no Statement of Objections will be issued."

The takeover of TNT Express will give Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx a significant ground-based European delivery network to complement its existing air-express business in the continent.

The deal was announced in April, two years after United Parcel Service Inc. dropped its own 5.2 billion euro takeover bid for the Dutch company, citing objections by European Union regulators worried about the combined company becoming too dominant.