updated 9/18/2007 6:21:38 PM ET 2007-09-18T22:21:38

Hilton Hotels Corp. shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company's $20.1 billion sale to The Blackstone Group LP, the hotel operator said Tuesday.

More than 98 percent of votes cast at a special shareholder's meeting held at the Beverly Hilton hotel favored the buyout, the company said.

Pending approval by the European Commission, the deal is expected to close by the end of October, Hilton said.

Under terms of the buyout, Blackstone will pay Hilton shareholders $47.50 per share in cash. Including assumed debt, the total deal is valued at $26 billion.

Shares of Hilton were up rose 37 cents to $46.35 Tuesday after trading as high as $46.45. Shares of Blackstone rose rose 90 cents, or 3.8 percent, to $24.55.

Beverly Hills-based Hilton Hotels operates more than 2,800 hotels around the world. The company generated $8.11 billion in revenue last year.

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