Time Warner Inc. shareholders were in a marrying mood Wednesday, voting to sell the entertainment company to telecommunications giant AT&T for $85.4-billion. Stockholders representing nearly 79% of the outstanding Time Warner shares approved the merger agreement, according to a preliminary count of votes during a special shareholder meeting in Atlanta. The blockbuster stock and cash deal would transform Dallas-based AT&T into a phone and television behemoth with such prominent media assets as CNN, HBO, TBS, Cartoon Network and the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank. AT&T has shown a voracious appetite for new properties as the mobile phone market matures and revenue stalls. AT&T purchased DirecTV nearly two years ago to become the nation’s largest pay-TV company. The AT&T-Time Warner deal - which must win the blessing of the U.S. Department of Justice and perhaps the Federal Communications Commission - would end the independent ownership of the nation’s third-largest entertainment company.
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