Hotel chain Marriott International came one step closer to acquiring rival hotel business Starwood after shareholders of both companies approved the nearly $15 billion merger Friday.
Anti-trust regulators in the United States already approved the merger, but it will still need to clear regulatory hurdles in the European Union and China. The companies expect to close the deal around mid-year. Upon completion, the deal will create the world's largest hotel company.
Starwood agreed to be bought by Marriott in November, but the Chinese Insurance giant Anbang was aggressively pursuing the hotel chain until recently.
"With today's successful stockholder approval milestone, we are that much closer to completing our transaction," Marriott President Arne Sorenson said in a statement. "Our teams continue to plan the integration of our two companies, and we are committed to a timely and smooth transition."
Starwood stockholders will receive 0.8 shares of Marriott common stock plus $21 in cash for each share of Starwood common stock.
When the deal finishes, the Marriott hotel chain will consist of 5,500 properties with more than 1.1 million rooms across the world. The next largest hotel chain is Hilton Worldwide, which has 4,500 properties and around 735,000 rooms.