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Shareholders approve sale of Maytag to Whirlpool

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NEWTON, Iowa (AP) _ Shareholders of Maytag Corp. approved the sale of the company to rival appliance-maker Whirlpool Corp. on Thursday.

If the transaction is cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice early next year, it will mark the end of the iconic Iowa-based company as an independent appliance manufacturer.

Maytag was founded in 1893 by Fred Maytag a farm implement maker, who introduced a wooden-tub washing machine 14 years later. His innovative designs swept the nation and the company has remained a home-appliance leader for a century.

In recent years, however, Maytag's profitability has languished as competitors improved efficiency by outsourcing parts and moving production to low-cost factories. Maytag was slow to adopt cost-saving measures and fell behind as competitors wooed consumers away with new appliance designs and features.
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