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Equity Office Battle Nears End

Shareholders approve the company's acquisition by Blackstone.
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The battle for

Equity Office Properties

(EOP)

neared a close Wednesday as shareholders approved the company's planned acquisition by Blackstone Group and

Vornado Realty

(VNO) - Get Report

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dropped its rival bid.

Equity Office said that 92% of the total shares voted at a special meeting Wednesday were in favor of the Blackstone deal. The Chicago-based office owner expects the transaction to be completed on Friday.

Blackstone is set to pay $55.50 a share in cash, a price that was twice raised from its original offer of $48.50 in November. The increased price came as Vornado launched a bid for Equity Office in an effort to become the nation's largest real estate investment trust.

Vornado most recently had offered $56 a share in cash and stock, but that bid was seen as carrying more risk since it would take several months to close and required Vornado shareholders' approval. The company

dropped its offer early Wednesday, saying that a raised price wouldn't be in shareholders' best interest.

The Blackstone deal is the largest real estate transaction in history.

Shares of Equity Office recently were trading at $55.46, down 59 cents, or 1%. Vornado shares were up $7.47, or 5.9%, to $134.47.