The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) has beaten off competition from electronic commodities mart IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) and won shareholder approval for an $11.9 billion merger with the Chicago Board of Trade (Cbot).
In a statement the two Chicago exchange say that preliminary results indicate the shareholders of both companies have approved the proposed merger.
CME executive chairman Terry Duffy, says the deal "creates a strong international company better positioned to compete with growing global exchanges and the over-the-counter market".
"Starting on day one, our combined company will be ready to compete in the global environment-well-armed for growth and innovation," adds Bernard Dan, Cbot president and CEO.
The CME and Cbot agreed an $8 billion deal in October to merge to form the world's largest derivatives exchange. But the CME was forced to progressively sweeten its original offer for Cbot following a succession of higher bids for the business from the upstart ICE.
On Friday, CME made its "best and final" bid, boosting the exchange ratio for each Cbot share to 0.375 of a CME share, up from 0.35 previously.
In letter to shareholders ICE chief executive Jeffrey Sprecher says he is disappointed by the outcome of the vote, but claims the the bidding war resulted in nearly $3 billion of extra value for Cbot investors.
Says Sprecher: "The future winners in our industry may not be the biggest or oldest players. Success will be determined by the ability to adapt quickly to changing markets and innovate responsively in creating new products and serving customers around the globe."