Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have announced the stockholders of both companies have voted in separate meetings to approve the merger.

The news comes after China’s Anbang Insurance Group, which was leading a consortium of investors consisting of JC Flowers & Co and Primavera Capital, abandoned its US$14bn bid for Starwood.

The deal, which will see Marriott pay US$13.6bn, will create the world’s largest hotel company with more than 5,500 hotels and 1.1 million rooms around the world.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s president and CEO, said “With today’s successful stockholder approval milestone, we are that much closer to completing our transaction.

“Our teams continue to plan the integration of our two companies, and we are committed to a timely and smooth transition. We appreciate the stockholders’ vote of confidence in our ability to drive long-term value and opportunity as a combined company.”

Thomas Mangas, Starwood’s CEO, added “Today’s vote is a significant step toward closing, and we are grateful for the continued enthusiasm and support for this merger.

“There is no doubt that this transaction puts our company on the best path forward and we remain excited about the opportunity this combination will create for our stockholders, associates, owners and guests.”

It is expected that the merger will be completed by mid 2016.