NEW YORK - Republic New York Corp. shareholders on Tuesday approved the $9.85 billion buyout offer by HSBC Holdings PLC, ending weeks of uncertainty about the deal's fate.The deal, under which Republic shareholders would receive $72 a share in cash, still needs approval from the state of New York and the Federal Reserve. Republic and HSBC expect to obtain those approvals this month and to close the deal before yearend.

The approval came 22 days after Republic's chief shareholder, Edmond Safra, agreed to reduce the price of his shares by $450 million to offset potential liability. Republic's securities subsidiary faces lawsuits and a potential criminal probe into its role in aiding Martin Armstrong, a fund manager accused of bilking Japanese investors of as much as $1 billion in a Ponzi scheme.

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