At a special shareholder meeting for ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC) held this morning, the merger of the transmission business of Entergy (NYSE:ETR) that was announced back on Dec. 5, 2011, was finally approved.

The transmission business will be separated from Entergy and merged into ITC, the country's largest independent electric transmission company. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, so long as all required regulatory approvals are met and with satisfaction of other closing conditions. Shareholders have approved the other proposals required for the merger, and both ITC and Entergy have made all of the regulatory filings necessary for approval of the transaction.

ITC Chairman, President, and CEO Joseph L. Welch said: "We are pleased that our shareholders have endorsed our proposed transaction with Entergy. We believe that the combination of these businesses will result in benefits for all stakeholders."

ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along 15,000 circuit miles of transmission line.

Entergy's electric transmission business will add approximately 15,700 miles of interconnected transmission lines in the Mid-South. When the deal was originally announced, Entergy said it would receive gross cash proceeds of $1.775 billion from indebtedness that will be assumed by ITC, which anticipated issuing approximately $700 million of unsecured debt to complete the transaction.

Fool contributor Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends ITC. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.