Rite Aid shareholders overwhelmingly approved a nearly $3 billion deal to buy more than 1,800 Brooks and Eckerd stores and become the largest drugstore operator on the East Coast.
Rite Aid , the nation's third-largest drugstore chain, has billed the deal as a way to catapult it within reach of the rapidly growing drugstore leaders Walgreen and CVS .
Shareholders voted 404.1 million to 9.1 million in favor of acquiring the U.S. Eckerd and Brooks operations of Canada's Jean Coutu Group for $1.45 billion in cash and 250 million shares valued at about $1.5 billion. Rite Aid is also assuming $850 million in debt in the deal.
The Federal Trade Commission is still reviewing the deal. Rite Aid has said it expects the transaction, announced Aug. 24, to close shortly after the company's fourth quarter, which ends March 3.