updated 7/12/2005 2:44:46 PM ET 2005-07-12T18:44:46

Procter & Gamble Co. and Gillette Co. shareholders on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the proposed $57 billion combination of the consumer products companies. The deal is still awaiting regulatory clearance, however.

In votes announced at separate special meetings, 96 percent of votes cast were for P&G’s acquisition of Gillette, the companies said.

“The combined company is going to be a company that is going to grow and prosper,” Gillette chief executive James Kilts said after the shareholders meeting in Wilmington, Del.

A.G. Lafley, P&G’s company’s chairman, president and chief executive, called the merger a great deal for P&G and shareholders in the meeting at P&G headquarters here.

Most shareholders voted before the meetings on the deal announced in January, which would bring some of the most prominent consumer brands under one umbrella, including P&G’s Pampers diapers brand and Gillette’s line of shavers. A simple majority of outstanding shares was needed for approval.

The Federal Trade Commission still is reviewing the deal and the European Commission has a Friday deadline to approve the merger or begin an in-depth probe. Earlier reports said the companies could sell some overlapping dental-care product lines to address competition concerns.

The deal would be the largest acquisition in the 167-year history of P&G, whose range of brands includes Crest, Tide and Head & Shoulders. Besides its line of razors, Boston-based Gillette makes Braun electric shavers, Oral-B toothbrushes and Duracell batteries.

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