Bear Stearn's Cos. shareholders on Thursday gave their approval to sell the investment bank to rival JPMorgan Chase & Co. for about $2.2 billion.

JPMorgan Chase confirmed the approved deal, which values Bear Stearns at $10 per share, according to the Associated Press. Voting results would be released later.

The approval comes after Bear Stearns' value plummeted during the past year due to the significant losses linked to the struggling housing market. In May of last year the stock was worth $153.

The company initially decided to sell itself to JPMorgan at $2 per share earlier this year under pressure from U.S. regulators who feared that a bankruptcy at Bear Stearns would have had a catastrophic effect on global financial markets. The deal was later renegotiated after protests from shareholders.

Bear Stearns had scheduled a special meeting Thursday morning at the bank's headquarters to consider the buyout agreement reached by the companies on March 16. Stockholders of record as of April 18 were entitled to vote.

JPMorgan's chief executive Jamie Dimon stated earlier this month that he expected to retain about 45 percent of Bear Stearns' staff.