This deal has dragged on for so long that its conclusion is almost an anticlimax. Finally, after months of strife, shareholders have approved the $33 billion sale of HCA Corp. to a private investor group. The sale should represent the largest leveraged buyout in history, topping the $31.3 billion sale of RJR Nabisco in the late 80s. The buyers, which include Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity, along with HCA managers and founder Tommy Frist, are taking the company private--though they've admitted they may go public again within the next several years. In making the acquisition, the group is taking on $11.7 billion in HCA debt. The sale will pay stockholders almost 20 percent more per share than the stock was worth when the agreement was announced in July, a nice deal given that analysts expect HCA growth to fall by 13 percent during the next quarter.