BALTIMORE (AP) — Constellation Energy and Exelon say their shareholders have approved the proposed $7.9 billion merger of the two companies.

The two companies say shareholders voted at special meetings on Thursday. Holders of about 71 percent of Exelon common stock voted with about 97 percent voting in favor. The owners of about 78 percent of Constellation common stock also voted on the deal, with about 87 percent in favor.

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Under the proposed deal, Exelon Corp. shareholders would own about 78 percent of the combined company with Constellation Energy Group Inc. shareholders owning about 22 percent. The deal is expected to close in early 2012 if approved by regulators.

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The deal would combine Constellation’s large retail arm and Exelon’s large wholesale power division, a merger analysts say could work well together.

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