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Italy antitrust body approves Unipol/BPER deal with conditions

MILAN, July 18 (Reuters) - Italy's competition watchdog approved a takeover of Unipol Banca by fellow lender Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna (BPER) with conditions, it said in a statement on Thursday.

It said the deal would strengthen BPER's position in the region of Sardinia and therefore Unipol Banca should sell its branches there to an independent player.

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro)