chief executive Thomas O'Brien won his prize here Friday: approval of the bank's planned $3 billion acquisition of Midlantic Corp. The vote, with 81% of voting shareholders approving the purchase, came two months after a prominent Wall Street analyst predicted investors would reject the merger because of its high price tag. "This merger is a perfect fit for PNC," Mr. O'Brien told an audience of about 100 investors, none of whom asked any questions about the deal during the meeting. "This new company will generate higher revenues, earnings, and margins, and will be less susceptible to interest rate volatility." In September, Lehman Brothers bank analyst Michael Mayo predicted shareholders would vote against the merger. "Given my belief PNC is overpaying by about $500 million, I had thought many of PNC shareholders would vote against the deal," he said Friday. "I was wrong." Still, the 19% of shareholders voting against the merger represents a high figure, analysts said. Midlantic shareholders approved the merger Thursday with a vote count of 95%. Mr. O'Brien said the deal would be accretive to earnings next year. The deal has received all regulatory approvals needed and is expected to close by the end of the year.
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