H.F. Ahmanson & Co. said Friday that its shareholders approved the proposed merger with Washington Mutual Inc., Seattle.

The deal should close early in the fourth quarter, pending regulatory approval, Ahmanson said. The stock-swap transaction was valued at $6.4 billion Friday, down from $9.9 billion when it was announced March 17, said Tom Burnett, director of Merger Insights, a research firm in New York.

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