Apparel maker Kellwood Co has been given antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission to go ahead with its proposed acquisition of Gerber Childrenswear Inc.

This means that the companies have been granted early termination of the waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Kellwood agreed to buy Gerber Childrenswear in a cash and stock deal valued at about $140 million. At least 70 per cent of Gerber's shareholders have agreed to tender their shares.