WHSmith investors have formally backed the retailer’s $400m takeover of US giant Marshall Retail Group (MRG).

The deal represents a big step forward in WHSmith’s international reach and power in travel locations.

WHSmith revealed its plans to buy Marshall in October when it said that its represented a “compelling opportunity to accelerate the growth of WH Smith’s International Travel business in the $3.2 billion US airport travel retail market”.

The tie-up came on the heels of WHSmith’s previous acquisition of US travel retail specialist InMotion and was said to bring “strong and highly visible near-term growth prospects”, doubling the size of WHSmith’s international travel operations.

At that time Marshall had 170 stores in North America – 59 of them in airports – and it makes most of its money in the news, gifts and convenience categories.

In the financial year ending this month, Marshall’s airports business was expected to contribute about $84m to Marshall’s total revenue. A further 33 more airport stores are expected to open by the end of 2024.

WHSmith chief executive Carl Cowling said when the deal was disclosed: ”MRG is a highly successful US travel retailer with a fast-growing airport business.

”This acquisition will accelerate the growth of our international travel business and combined with InMotion, the market-leading digital accessories airport retailer that we acquired last year, will significantly enhance our scale and growth opportunities in the US, a large and fast-growing travel retail market.

“This is an exciting value-creating opportunity, entirely in line with our strategy.”