CINCINNATI – May Department Stores Inc(MAY) said Wednesday its shareholders approved the company's takeover by rival Federated Department Stores Inc. (FD) in a $11 billion deal that will bring Macy's, Bloomingdale's (search), Lord & Taylor (search) and Filene's all under the same corporate umbrella.
Federated shareholders are expected to vote on the merger at a meeting in Cincinnati later Wednesday.
The merger will create "one superb national department store," John L. Dunham, May's chairman, president and chief executive officer, told about 50 shareholders at May's meeting in New York. "This is a good, bold, exciting move."
Dunham declined to talk about any possible layoffs or store closings that may result from the merger, or the company's future merchandising strategy, until the deal is approved by the Federal Trade Commission
The companies are looking to have the merger in place in time for the holiday shopping season.
"We are expecting it to close in the third quarter, between August and October," Federated spokeswoman Jamie Carr said Tuesday.
The deal will create a formidable retail force with nearly 1,000 department stores and $30 billion in annual sales. St. Louis-based May would become a Federated division.
Burt Flickinger III, managing director for New York-based consultants Strategic Resource Group, said the two companies offer "a very responsible retail plan. ... They should get complete regulatory approval."
Federated has about 112,000 employees and more than 450 Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores in 34 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. May — operator of Lord & Taylor, Famous-Barr, The Jones Store, Filene's and other regional department stores — has 132,000 employees in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Some stores would be rebranded as Macy's (search) after the merger becomes final.
The extended national scope is expected to help Federated better compete with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and upscale retail merchants.
Flickinger said prospects for the combination of the companies' top stores "will be phenomenal."