Time Warner shareholders approved the pending $108.7 billion merger with AT&T on Wednesday, putting the mega-deal on a path for a year-end 2017 close.
Time Warner said about 78% of its outstanding shares voted in favor of the deal, with the rest not casting a vote. Of the shares that were voted, 99% were in favor of the transaction.
AT&T and Time Warner announced their deal in October, with the telco agreeing to pay $107.50 per share in cash and stock for the programmer, a 36% premium to its stock price at the time. Time Warner stock closed at $96.32 each on Wednesday, down 7 cents each or 0.1%.
Time Warner and AT&T have said they don’t believe the transaction needs to receive approval from the Federal Communications Commission because the deal will not involve the transfer of broadcast licenses. While the approval process has already started at the Department of Justice, the FCC has not chimed in yet on what it believes its role may be in the process.
But with the shareholder vote out of the way, it is likely that AT&T and Time Warner can begin to map out some of its integration plans. And barring any surprises, people familiar with both companies believe the deal could be completed as soon as the early part of the fourth quarter.
“On behalf of our board of directors and management team, I’m pleased that the company’s shareholders have approved the proposal to combine with AT&T,” Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. “In addition to providing shareholders with immediate value and the ability to participate in the upside of the combined company, the deal advances our long-term operational strategy. By combining Time Warner’s leading brands and video content with AT&T’s distribution, we will accelerate our ability to innovate, develop and deliver the next generation of video services, making our content even more valuable to consumers and business partners.”