Shareholders have approved the merger of timber companies Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek. The votes at separate meetings in the Seattle area on Friday move the companies toward becoming one of the world's biggest timberland and forest products companies.

The Flathead Beacon reports about 70 percent of Plum Creek shareholders voted in favor of the merger agreement at a meeting in Seattle. The company is based in Columbia Falls, Montana.

A company announcement said the vote at a meeting in Federal Way, Washington, counted more than 98 percent of the Weyerhaeuser shareholders in favor of the proposal.

The company will keep the Weyerhaeuser name and have more than 13 million acres of timberland.

Plum Creek common stockholders will receive 1.60 Weyerhaeuser common shares for each share of Plum Creek common stock.

The merger is expected to become effective before the end of the first quarter of 2016.