Papua New Guinea-focused Oil Search Ltd. said on Dec. 7 its A$8.8 billion (US$6.21 billion) buyout by Santos Ltd. received an overwhelming support from its shareholders, getting over 95% votes in favor of the deal.

Shares of Oil Search rose as much as 3.3% to A$4.10 to hit a nearly two-week high, while Santos advanced up to 1.9%.

About 95.1% Oil Search shareholders voted in favor of the deal on Dec. 7, nearly a month after the firm gained approval from a Papua New Guinea (PNG) court and a mixed endorsement from an independent expert for the deal.

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About 95.43% of the proxy votes cast were in favor of the deal, which would create a global top 20 oil and gas company and make Santos the largest shareholder in PNG's biggest resource project, the PNG LNG project, run by Exxon Mobil Corp.

The buyout still needs approval from PNG's competition watchdog and national court. If all approvals are received, the deal will take effect Dec. 10, which will be the last day of trading in Oil Search shares in Australia and PNG, the company said.

($1 = 1.4180 Australian dollars)