BellSouth shareholders on Friday handed down their approval of a possible purchase of their company by AT&T for $67 million worth of stock, the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News.
Cingular Wireless, the United States’ largest mobile phone provider, is a joint venture between BellSouth and AT&T, and the deal would bring the wireless carrier under the ownership of a single entity, according to the AP.
BellSouth shareholders met in Atlanta and 97 percent of them voted in favor of the deal, which was announced in March and is expected to close by the start of 2007, the AP reports.
AT&T shareholders are slated to meet later on Friday to decide if they will issue new stock for the merged firm, according to the AP.
The deal must first be approved by state and federal regulators before it can be finalized, the AP reports.
AT&T has 60 percent ownership of Cingular, and BellSouth owns the remaining stake, according to the AP.
Just after the March announcement of the potential buy, AT&T said it would likely chop some 10,000 jobs over three years if the deal went through, the AP reports.
Duane Ackerman, BellSouth chief executive, told the company shareholders on Friday that Cingular will remain in its current headquarters for at least five years if the deal is finalized, and there is no planned location to which it would move at that point, according to the AP.
Upon completion of the deal, the combined firm would eventually lose the BellSouth and Cingular names, the AP reports.
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