The friendly merger of Great Western Financial and Washington Mutual Inc. cleared a major hurdle Tuesday, when the Delaware Chancery Court ruled that Great Western's shareholders may vote on the deal June 13 as scheduled.

Rival bidder H.F. Ahmanson & Co. had asked the court to postpone the meeting for 8 to 10 weeks. Ahmanson had argued for the delay, hoping it could elect three new Great Western directors who would then have time to persuade the rest of the board and management to negotiate with Ahmanson.

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