JACKSONVILLE, FL-New York City-based Fortress Investment Group’s $3.5-billion bid to take Florida East Coast Industries private is in the home stretch now that FECI’s shareholders have approved the merger. The deal is expected to close tomorrow, July 26.

Both sides went public with the deal in May, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Locally based FECI is the owner of Flagler Development Group and Florida East Coast Railway LLC.

An overwhelming majority of FECI’s shareholders, 98.8%, cast votes in favor of the merger. Under the agreement, the shareholders are entitled to $84 per share–$62.50 per share, plus a one-time, special cash dividend of $21.50 per share on all issued and outstanding common stock to shareholders of record as of close of business July 24.

During FECI’s first quarter conference calls just days after the merger was announced, CEO Adolfo Henriques voiced his support, as GlobeSt.com also reported. He noted that the $84-per-share figure represented a 35% premium over the quarter and a 97% premium over the past two years.

Flagler Development Group owns, develops, leases and holds in joint ventures approximately 8.6 million sf of class A office and industrial space, mostly in Jacksonville, Orlando and Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Flagler also provides construction, consulting, third party brokerage and property management services, and owns 846 acres of entitled land in Florida, which is available for development of up to an additional 15.9 million sf. Flagler owns approximately 3,089 acres of other Florida properties.

Florida East Coast Railway is a regional freight railroad that operates 351 miles of mainline track from Jacksonville to Miami and provides intermodal drayage services at terminals located in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Ft. Pierce, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

Fortress is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $36 billion in assets under management as of March 31.

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