March 27, 2015 / 5:21 PM / 4 years ago

Baker Hughes, Halliburton shareholders approve merger

A Halliburton facility sits behind a barbed wire fence on the outskirts of Williston, North Dakota January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

(Reuters) - Shareholders on Friday voted to approve the mergers of rival oilfield services firms Baker Hughes Inc and Halliburton, bringing the proposed deal that still lacks regulatory approvals a step closer to finalization.

Halliburton shareholders approved the issuance of shares needed to complete the transaction valued at $35 billion when it was announced, while Baker Hughes shareholders voted to approve the deal.

The cash and stock deal announced in November will create an oilfield service behemoth to take on market leader Schlumberger NV as customers sharply curtail spending in a crude oil downturn.

About 98 percent of the shares voted at a special meeting in Houston voted for the deal, a figure that represents 75 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, the companies said.

The deal, which still needs the approval of anti-trust regulators, is expected to close late in the second half of 2015.

Last month, U.S. antitrust regulators asked the companies for more information related to the deal, an expected development because the two companies have overlapping business units in the United States, Asia and Europe.

Halliburton previously said it was willing to divest businesses with combined revenue of $7.5 billion to satisfy regulators.

Reporting by Anna Driver; Editing by Terry Wade, Bernard Orr

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