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NEW YORK CITY-Merrill Lynch shareholders voted here on Friday to approve the company’s acquisition by Bank of America. BofA shareholders were scheduled to vote on the transaction at a special meeting this morning. The vote follows the Federal Reserve board’s approval of the acquisition this past Monday, and the European Union okayed the deal on Thursday.

Under the terms of the transaction, which was announced on Sept. 15–a day that also saw the collapse of Lehman Brothers–Merrill Lynch will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of BofA. Merrill’s stockholders will receive 0.8595 of a share of BofA common stock for each share of Merrill common stock held immediately prior to the merger. The deal, which is expected to close by year’s end, puts Merrill’s value at about $50 billion.

“By approving this transaction, Merrill Lynch stockholders expressed confidence that thecombination of our firm and Bank of America will create one of the most powerful financial institutions in the world, with unmatched capabilities and service,” says John Thain, Merrill’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “This combination will create great value for our stockholders and clients around the world.”

The addition of Merrill would give BofA a total of more than 20,000 financial advisors, creating the world’s largest financial brokerage, as well as $2.5 trillion in client assets, according to a release. Additionally, BofA would assume an approximately 50% ownership in BlackRock, which has $1.4 trillion in assets under management.

In a statement issued after the Merrill/BofA deal was announced in September, BlackRock said the acquisition would have little impact on its day-to-day operations. “BlackRock is and, following the transaction will remain, an independent publicly traded investment management firm,” according to the statement. “This transaction has no effect on the structure of our board and will reinforce our independent governance.”

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