Time Warner shareholders on Wednesday signed off on the proposed $85 billion merger with telecom giant AT&T, though the buyout still faces the hurdle of regulatory review.
If the deal closes, AT&T would become the parent of Time Warner’s Atlanta-based Turner broadcasting unit, which includes CNN, TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network as well as other television and website operations.
Time Warner held a brief special meeting in Atlanta and afterward said 78 percent of outstanding shares of common stock voted to approve the deal, and that 99 percent of shares voted were in favor.
“Having obtained shareholder approval of the transaction, and with regulatory review of the deal underway, the company continues to expect the transaction to close before yearend 2017,” the company said in a release afterward.
AT&T, which expanded its pay television business with the purchase of DirecTV, wants to add Time Warner’s programming to further build its media presence.
The buyout still must be approved by the Justice Department, which will study whether it would harm competition. While campaigning last year, President Trump expressed skepticism of the deal, saying it would concentrate too much media power.
But the companies argue the deal is a sensible combination, and political criticism has softened in recent months.
New York-based Time Warner has owned Turner since 1996.