First Union Corp. shareholders approved a proposed $14.4-billion stock acquisition of Wachovia Corp., the latest chapter in a hotly contested takeover battle with SunTrust Banks Inc. for the Southeastern U.S. bank.
Wachovia shareholders Friday are set to vote on the First Union merger, which the board of the Winston-Salem, N.C., company has backed.
At its annual meeting, First Union said stockholders cast about 730.2 million shares--nearly 75% of the 979.2 million outstanding--in favor of the merger, which would form the nation's fourth-largest banking company.
First Union announced the deal April 16, offering two of its shares for each share of Wachovia. Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks sued to block the deal, but a North Carolina court rejected the lawsuit. SunTrust in May had launched a hostile bid for Wachovia now valued at about $15.2 billion.
First Union rose 13 cents to $35.40, while Wachovia rose 39 cents to $71.10 and SunTrust rose 11 cents to $69.25, all on the New York Stock Exchange.