NYSE Euronext (NYX) shareholders signed off on the Big Board parents $9.4 billion takeover from Germanys Deutsche Boerse on Thursday, green lighting a deal that would create the worlds largest stock market operator.

NYSE said about 65.6% of all outstanding shares approved of the transaction, which was first unveiled in February. About 96% of the shares that voted gave the DB deal the green light.

This approval is an important milestone in our path to completing this combination, bringing us one step closer to creating the premier global venue for capital raising and a world leader in derivatives and risk management, CEO Duncan Niederauer said in a statement.

The tie-up met up with resistance earlier this year from some NYSE shareholders who wanted Niederauer to more weigh a richer bid from Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Faced with serious regulatory hurdles, Nasdaq and ICE eventually abandoned their takeover efforts.

The shareholder approval, which had been expected, shifts the spotlight to DB shareholders and regulators.

For the deal to move ahead, 75% of DB shareholders are required to sign off on the deal. The acceptance period for DB shareholders to tender their shares in exchange for ones in the new combined company is set to end on July 13.

Niederauer, who is expected to become CEO of the combined entity, said he expects Phase 1 of the antitrust review from European Union regulators to be completed by the end of July, Reuters reported. Niederauer also said a large divestiture as part of the EU review would be unprecedented.

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