Having been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last week, Paddy Power’s merger with Betfair has taken a major step towards completion after the shareholders of each company voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal.

During a Court Meeting held yesterday, Betfair asked shareholders to vote on the proposed merger with 262 in favour of the transaction, representing 99.9 per cent of those that voted, or 67,410,247 shares. Just two shareholders voted against the deal, with the pair’s stake representing just 423 of the company’s 92,973,524 shares.

Similar results were seen in the vote held at the operator’s General Meeting, in which 99.9 per cent voted in favour of the merger. Shareholders in possession of 315,351 of the company’s shares withheld their votes.

Paddy Power’s shareholders were equally enthusiastic about the deal, with 99.9 per cent voting to approve the merger as a Class 1 Transaction.

Agreed amid a wave of industry consolidation in August, the Paddy Power Betfair merger will create a new entity with a market capitalisation of around £5bn, led by Betfair chief executive Breon Corcoran.

The deal was last week given the CMA’s blessing, which completed its investigation into the potential effects of the merger ahead of schedule.

As part of this plan, Betfair’s shareholders will receive a closing dividend equal to the anticipated dividend per share for the financial year ending April 30th pro-rated for the number of days elapsed between May 1st 2015 and the closing date of the merger.

Paddy Power shareholders will also be awarded a dividend totalling £80m, to be paid on the business day before the transaction is finalised.

While yet another hurdle has been cleared, completion of the merger remains subject to the satisfaction of a number of remaining conditions, such as having it sanctioned by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Should all conditions be met, the operators expect the deal to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.

Shares in Betfair plc (Co.Data) (LSE:BET) have fallen 0.26 per cent to 3,854.00 pence per share in London this morning, while shares in Paddy Power plc (Co.Data) (LSE:PAP) are trading up 0.43 per cent at 121.54 pence per share.



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