The Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that its antitrust review decision on April 13 "did not forbid" Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co from buying a controlling stake in China Shengmu Organic Milk, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website on Saturday.
Yili declined to comment on the matter when contacted by the Global Times on Tuesday.
The ministry issued the statement after China's top dairy producer said in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Friday that it had scrapped plans to purchase a 37 percent stake after failing to receive MOFCOM approval.
The ministry said it notified Yili's representative of the review decision on April 14, and the representative signed that decision on April 25, according to the statement.
Yili said in the filing that it had to abandon its plans because it had not received the approval from MOFCOM by an April 21 deadline.
Without that approval, the companies could not obtain approval from China's foreign exchange regulator to pay for Shengmu's shares, which are traded in Hong Kong dollars.
Shengmu announced in November 2016 that Yili would buy the stake for HK$2.25 (32 cents) per share, in a deal worth HK$5.29 billion.