Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY - Get Report) on Friday announced that it had secured enough shareholder votes to approve its roughly $74 billion takeover of Celgene (CELG - Get Report) , putting the company closer to finalizing the largest pharmaceutical merger in history.

More than 75% of Bristol-Myers shareholders voted to approve the deal, according to a preliminary tally announced by Bristol-Myers on Friday.

Bristol-Myers' position took a positive turn in late March after an influential shareholder advisory group recommended investors vote in favor of the cancer drug specialist's takeover,  and a key activist dropped its opposition to the deal.

Institutional Shareholder Services recommended the deal, which had been challenged by key Bristol-Myers shareholders Starboard Value and Wellington Management, ahead of Friday's vote.

Glass Lewis, another proxy service that provides advice to passive shareholders, also has expressed support for the deal, while Starboard said it would withdraw its proxy solicitation to vote against the tie-up.

Once the deal is finalized, the combined company will have almost $40 billion in revenue.

Shares of Bristol-Myers were little changed on Friday, up 0.6% at $46.13. Celgene shares, meanwhile, were up 0.5% at $94.65.

The spread between the two company's shares and the offer value has been narrowing over the past few months as investors have continued to bet on the deal winning majority shareholder approval, and closing.