Providian Financial stockholders approved its acquisition by Washington Mutual this morning, with 83 percent of the shares voted endorsing the merger.

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Providian Financial stockholders approved its acquisition by Washington Mutual this morning, with 83 percent of the shares voted endorsing the merger.

WaMu has received regulatory approval for the acquisition, and plans to close the $6.45 billion deal Oct. 1.

The Seattle thrift agreed in June to pay cash and stock equal to 0.45 WaMu shares for each share in the nation’s 10th-largest issuer of credit cards. The deal offered a premium of about 4 percent above Providian’s stock price before the deal was announced.

Some shareholders thought that price was too low, including Putnam Investments, a major Providian stockholder that said it would vote against the merger.

Firms that advise institutional shareholders on voting were divided in their recommendations for Providian shareholders, with two recommending the merger be approved and two saying it should be rejected.

One such firm, Glass, Lewis & Co., recommended that Providian shareholders reject the merger and consider asking a court to determine how much money they should receive for their Providian shares.

Any shareholders wanting to exercise such appraisal rights were required to notify Providian by today’s special shareholders meeting. A “handful” of shareholders, representing less than 1 percent of the company’s outstanding shares, told the company that they intend to exercise those rights, said Providian spokesman Alan Elias.

That group of shareholders can move ahead with their plan or backtrack, depending on what they think their chances are in court and how much they believe it would cost for them to continue. Their decision does not hold up the merger.

About 81 percent of Providian’s outstanding shares were voted, with 83 percent of those voted approving the acquisition.

Shares of Washington Mutual and Providian were up slightly this morning.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com