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Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide took a big step toward completing their planned merger Friday when both companies' shareholders voted in favor of an amended proposal that would form the world's largest hotel company.
Both companies confirmed shareholder approval following the separate Friday morning meetings.
Holders of more than 97 percent of Marriott shares were present at the meeting, while holders of over 95 percent of Starwood shares were present when the deal was approved.
Under terms of the agreement, Starwood stockholders are set to receive 0.8 shares of Marriott common stock plus $21 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock at closing.
"With today's successful stockholder approval milestone, we are that much closer to completing our transaction," said Marriott's president and CEO Arne Sorenson in a statement. "Our teams continue to plan the integration of our two companies, and we are committed to a timely and smooth transition."
READ MORE: Winners, Losers of Marriott's $12.2 Billion Acquisition of Starwood
In his own statement, Starwood CEO Thomas Mangas called the vote "a significant step toward closing."
"There is no doubt that this transaction puts our company on the best path forward and we remain excited about the opportunity this combination will create for our stockholders, associates, owners and guests," Mangas concluded.
Since the two companies cleared antitrust reviews in the U.S. and Canada earlier this year, the merger remains on track to be completed in mid-2016.
However the transaction remains subject to Starwood's planned divestiture of its timeshare business, which is expected by the end of April. Starwood and Marriott must also obtain the necessary regulatory approvals in Europe, China and elsewhere.
READ MORE: Marriott, Starwood and Anbang: The Travel Agent Perspective
While Marriott's acquisition of Starwood appears all but a done deal, the path to this point wasn't without its obstacles.
Although it was mostly smooth sailing following November 2015's original $12.2 billion agreement, a takeover bid from a Chinese consortium led by the Anbang Insurance Group last month threatened to knock Marriott out of the picture and derail the merger.
But just days after offering a counter-offer for Starwood worth $14 billion, the consortium withdrew its offer, reopening the door for Marriott.
If the acquisition is completed later this year, the two companies will form the world's largest hotel chain, comprising 30 different brands and more than one million rooms.
A Maryland native and wanderer who has lived across the U.S. from North Carolina to SoCal, Patrick Clarke graduated from Towson...
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