Shareholders approve highly contested Samsung deal meant to strengthen founding family's grip

SEOUL, South Korea – Shareholders approved a highly contested deal that strengthens the Samsung family’s grip on the world’s largest smartphone maker.

Construction company Samsung C&T said Friday that 69.5 per cent of shareholders who voted supported the takeover of it by another Samsung company.

The son of Samsung’s ailing chairman is assuming a bigger leadership role but lacks but lacks a significant stake in flagship Samsung Electronics. The all-stock deal will give him that stake without having to spend billions of dollars to buy it from other shareholders.

Shareholders were sharply divided before the vote.

U.S. hedge fund Elliott Associates and other shareholders called the deal unfair because it would transfer billions of dollars of wealth from minority shareholders to Samsung’s founding family.

Others resorted to nationalism, asking shareholders to protect the Korean company against a foreign investor.