The shareholders of PepsiCo Inc.'s two largest independent bottlers, Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. and Minneapolis-based PepsiAmericas Inc., have approved merger plans to become part of PepsiCo Inc., the companies announced Wednesday.

PepsiCo, the world's second-largest soft drink maker, announced last year that it planned to take over the two bottlers to shave costs and gain more control over its bottling system. The Purchase, N.Y.-based chips-and-drinks giant said that the deal is still subject to Federal Trade Commission approval but that it hopes to close the deal by the end of the month.

PepsiCo is paying $7.8 billion for the two bottlers: $28.50 in cash or 0.5022 share of PepsiCo stock for each share of PepsiAmericas; and $36.50 or 0.6432 share of PepsiCo common stock for each share of the Pepsi Bottling Group, which is based in Somers, N.Y.

About 87 percent of PepsiAmericas stockholders voted for the merger, PepsiCo said.

PepsiAmericas, one of Minnesota's 19 Fortune 500 companies, makes, sells and distributes Pepsi's lineup of beverages -- such as Diet Pepsi, Lipton teas and Aquafina water -- in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. It reported sales of about $4.4 billion last year but revenue slipped all last year on weaker demand.

It's run by Robert Pohlad, son of the late Twins owner Carl Pohlad. Pohlad owns 10.4 percent of PepsiAmericas common stock, or nearly 13 million shares, making him the second-largest shareholder after PepsiCo itself, according to documents filed last month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He stands to pocket $370 million from the arrangement.

He also owns about 1.8 million shares of PepsiCo common stock. Pohlad will stay on with PepsiCo as a member of a special advisory board to help with the merger for at least 18 months after the deal closes, the documents say.

Company President Ken Keiser announced last fall that he would leave PepsiAmericas after the takeover.

PepsiAmericas' office in the Dain Rauscher Plaza in downtown Minneapolis employs about 20 people, mostly executives. It's unclear what the long-term plans are for that office, a company spokeswoman said.

PepsiCo already owns about 43 percent of PepsiAmericas. PepsiCo spun off Pepsi Bottling Group in 1999, but maintained a significant stake in that company, too.

Shares of PepsiAmericas closed Wednesday at $29.84, up 27 cents.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683