Shareholders in property consultancy GVA have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strategic partnering with international engineering management and real estate giant Bilfinger.

The update follows the news announced last month that GVA had found its preferred partner for a planned merger and signed a memorandum of understanding with the real estate arm of the £7 billion-turnover group.

The deal required a 76 per cent vote in favour from GVA stakeholders but it actually received 99 per cent backing.

The decision to work with Bilfinger Real Estate follows completion of a six-month review by investment bank Canaccord Genuity into GVA's options to enhance its medium to long-term growth.

The review concluded with the signing of the memorandum followed by the vote which comprised 280 GVA directors and LDC, the private equity investor with a 27.5 per cent stake in the consultancy.

Subject to outstanding legalities, completion of the merger is expected before the end of June and will see the transfer of GVA's existing shares to give Bilfinger Real Estate 100 per cent ownership.

Ian Stringer, regional senior director in the Midlands, said: "While this is a big milestone in the history of GVA, for many of its traditional Midlands-based clients it will be largely business as usual.

"However, this move with a publicly quoted German company provides us with the opportunity to compete for business in a wider European context initially and, in due course, on a truly global scale in the real estate market."

Bilfinger is based in Mannheim and listed on the German stock exchange in Frankfurt. It employs 74,000 staff throughout its 14 divisions worldwide.

GVA was founded in Bennetts Hill, in Birmingham, by Horatio N Grimley in 1820 as H.N Grimley and Son and eventually became GVA Grimley in 1998, a name it kept until a rebrand in 2010.

The Birmingham Post has launched a free app for iPad and iPhone. Download it here .