UK health and beauty retailer Boots said yesterday its shareholders had approved the disposal of its over-the-counter medicines business, Boots Healthcare International, to Reckitt Benckiser.

The Anglo-Dutch household products group is planning to buy BHI for a sum of around £1.93 billion in a deal announced last month. Boots shareholders backed the proposal at an extraordinary general meeting.

Reckitt Benckiser reportedly fended off rival bids from both GlaxoSmithKline and Bayer to the OTC business. The sale remains conditional upon obtaining clearances from the European and US antitrust authorities and is expected to complete early next year.

The remainder of the Boots business are to be merged with Alliance Unichem to create Alliance Boots, an international pharmacy-driven healthcare powerhouse with combined sales of over £13 billion.