NEW YORK (AP) -- Shareholders of specialty chemicals maker Rohm & Haas Co. approved a $15.3 billion buyout by Dow Chemical Co. on Wednesday.
Shareholders, who voted on the deal in Philadelphia where Rohm & Haas is based, will get $78 in cash for each share they own.
Including debt, the final price tag for the specialty chemicals maker is expected to be about $18.8 billion.
The deal is expected to close early in 2009, pending regulatory approval.
Dow is keeping the Rohm & Haas name, and will use existing facilities to form an advanced materials company with annual sales of about $13 billion. Two Rohm & Haas directors will join Dow's board, bringing its total size to 14 members.
Rohm & Haas will become a subsidiary of Dow, and its shares will not be traded separately.
The acquisition marks a further move by Dow into the higher-margin specialty chemicals market, which would provide a buffer against ups and downs in basic chemical sales. Specialty chemicals have more specific uses compared with those produced as high-volume commodities for manufacturing.
The Haas family, descendants of one of the company's founders, holds about 65 million shares, a 33 percent stake worth nearly $5.1 billion based on the purchase price.
Shares of Rohm & Haas fell 44 cents to $68.50 and shares of Dow Chemical fell 4 cents to $24.95 in morning trading.