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Coal company Peabody Energy (BTU) - Get Peabody Energy Corporation Report said Wednesday that shareholders of Excel Coal, an Australian coal company, approved the sale of Excel to Peabody for $9.50 a share (Australian dollars).

The purchase price is about $1.5 billion (including previously purchased shares) plus around $300 million in assumed debt.

Following court approval of the vote, the company anticipates closing of the transaction later this month, the St. Louis-based company said.

"With the favorable shareholder vote, we look forward to completing the acquisition of one of the premier coal companies in Australia," Peabody said. "We have worked closely with the Excel team on the integration plan for a number of months, and we look forward to combining and expanding our Australian platform to serve high-demand thermal and metallurgical coal markets at a time when the forecast for seaborne coal continues to grow."

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