PORTLAND, Maine — Shareholders on Tuesday approved the $1.5 billion purchase of FairPoint Communications by the Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.

Both companies held shareholder votes Tuesday to approve the deal, with the vast majority of voting shareholders voting in favor of the deal.

The approval clears two hurdles toward completion of the deal that still requires approval from multiple state regulatory commissions, including in Maine. The bulk of the North Carolina-based FairPoint’s network and employees are in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. FairPoint has more than 980 employees in Maine.

It’s not clear what the deal would mean for employment at FairPoint, but cutbacks are possible. Consolidated expects the deal will give it $55 million in annual savings through operational “synergies.”

[What FairPoint’s sale means to Maine customers]

Consolidated said in December it expects the deal to close by the middle of 2017.

FairPoint shareholders will get 0.73 shares of Consolidated common stock for each FairPoint share. Consolidated shareholders will hold approximately 71.3 percent of FairPoint after the close of the deal.

The deal in January received approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.