Stockholders of NTL Inc. and Telewest have blessed a proposed merger of the U.K.-based broadband operators.

According to the companies, 99 percent of shareholders from both companies voted in favor of the deal. Company officials believe a combined company will be a stronger one. Together, the new company will serve 5 million residential customers.

The merger "will enable us to leverage each company's strengths to drive significant consumer and shareholder value over the long term," said NTL Chairman James Mooney.

The deal is expected to close today (March 3) "or shortly thereafter." Under the agreement, Telewest shareholders will receive $16.25 in cash, and retain 0.2875 shares of the combined company for each Telewest share they own. NTL shareholders, in turn, will own roughly 25 percent of the fused entity.

The NTL-Telewest combo is slated to trade on NASDAQ initially under the "NTLID" ticker, but that will change later to "NTLI," the companies said.