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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ European Union antitrust regulators have approved the purchase of Burger King Corp., the world's second-largest fast-food company, by a consortium of U.S. investors.

Although the deal will bring Burger King into the same group as Domino's Pizza, the European Commission determined the company would continue to face strong competition in European markets from McDonald's, Quick, KFC, Pizza Hut and smaller fast-food outlets.

Britain's Diageo PLC said in July it planned to sell the Miami-based Burger King for $2.26 billion to a trio of venture capital firms _ Texas Pacific Group, Boston-based Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

U.S. antitrust investigators cleared the deal in August.

With more than 11,400 restaurants worldwide Burger King is second behind fast-food market leader McDonald's.

A Diageo spokeswoman said the company hopes to complete the sale by the end of this calendar year.