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BellSouth Shareholders Approve AT&T Merger

Taking another step toward the latest telco mega-union, BellSouth shareholders Friday overwhelmingly voted to approve the proposed merger with fellow regional Bell operating company AT&T.

Staged at the annual shareholder’s meeting Friday, the vote saw about 97% of stockholders approve the merger plan. The voting shareholders control more than 67% of the outstanding company shares.

Under that plan, BellSouth shareholders will receive 1.325 AT&T shares for each of their BellSouth shares. That’s a 17.9% premium based on the two companies’ stock prices as of March 3, the day before the merger was announced.

Announced earlier this year, the merger between AT&T and BellSouth will create the largest telco since the breakup of the RBOCs in the 1980s. It will also consolidate the ownership of Cingular Wireless, which is 60% owned by AT&T and 40% owned by BellSouth.

In a release, BellSouth chairman and CEO Duane Ackerman said there has been progress made toward gaining the needed regulatory approvals for the merger, which is expected to close this fall. After the merger closes, BellSouth will be a direct wholly owned AT&T subsidiary.