WGL Holdings Inc. shareholders have approved the company's plan to merge operations with Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. During a special shareholder meeting at WGL's corporate offices Wednesday, a proposal to approve the transaction was approved by 96.22% of the shares voted, which represented 71.88% of all outstanding WGL shares of common stock entitled to vote, the company said. The boards of directors of WGL and AltaGas have already unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018. The C$8.4 billion (US$6.4 billion) purchase was announced by the utilities in January. Under terms of the friendly takeover, the utility for which WGL is named -- Washington Gas Light Co. -- would not change its brand and would retain all current staff including executives. It will keep regulated public energy services in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, the merger partners said.