Novartis’ (NVS.NYSE, NVON.SIX) acquisition of Alcon (ACL.NYSE) was approved by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MofCom) conditional to certain restrictions on the combined entity’s activities in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. It is the sixth time the Chinese authorities have attached a rider to deals involving foreign companies since the Antimonopoly Law came into force two years ago. MofCom stressed last week that it treats foreign companies fairly under the law, although no domestic companies have been obliged to alter their M&A proposals. Novartis has agreed to pay Nestle (NESN.SIX) US$28.1 billion for a 52% stake in Alcon, having bought 25% of the company in 2008. The Swiss firm is barred from selling one of its premerger ophthalmological anti-infection products in China for five years because Alcon is the dominant player in this market segment. Novartis will also end a sales partnership with a Taiwan contact-lens manufacturer.