The Justice Department cleared Whirlpool's ( WHR) acquisition of Maytag ( MTG) on antitrust grounds Wednesday, sparking significant rallies in both companies' shares. The action clears the way for Whirlpool to acquire Maytag for about $1.7 billion in stock and cash, creating the dominant global appliance maker. The price comes out to about $21 a share. "This transaction is not likely to ham consumer welfare," the department said in a release. If the combined company tried to use its market position to raise prices, the result would probably not succeed because of the existence of competitors, the department concluded. Maytag shares rose $4.73, or 27.7%, to $21.81. Whirlpool gained $6.38, or 7.1%, to $95.95.