Cineworld shareholders approve $3.6bn Regal Entertainment takeover

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Cineworld's merger with Regal will create a mega cinema company (Source: Geograph)

Cineworld shareholders have voted in favour of a multibillion merger with an American counterpart, giving the green light for the creation of the world's second biggest cinema company.

Some 87 per cent of votes cast supported the proposal to buy US company Regal Entertainment for $3.6bn (£2.5bn), despite influential shareholder group ISS advising investors to oppose the deal

Shares in the company were up less than one per cent over lunchtime. The merger is now expected to close in early March.

Chairman Anthony Bloom said  there was "very strong support" from shareholders for the acquisition, though over 10 per cent chose to vote against it.

Some investors and advisory groups have criticised the massive £1.7bn rights issue to fund the purchase.

Jupiter Asset Management's Alastair Gunn previously said: "This deal will completely change the balance sheet, and will fall on existing shareholders.”

But shareholder group PIRC supported the deal, and City analysts have said it could represent long-term value for shareholders.