The deal, still awaiting regulatory approval, would give AT&T a national presence in the television business.
HP's $11.1 billion acquisition of the software maker devolved into allegations of accounting fraud.
Satoru Iwata is recovering from surgery to remove a tumor but is already handling some work while on the mend.
Stock sale puts Gates in second, behind fellow former CEO Steve Ballmer.
The company wants investors to simply discard any proxy card sent to them from Carl Icahn in advance of the annual meeting in May.
Apple's usually calm and collected CEO Tim Cook is reported to have reacted angrily to suggestions that Apple only act for profit in future.
The approval paves the way for Vodafone to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless to Verizon Communications.
Shareholders will vote in February on investor Carl Icahn's "non-binding" proposal to increase Apple's stock buyback program to $50 billion.
Lawsuit accuses the company of concealing that involvement with a controversial surveillance led to loss of sales and stock price decline.
As part of its group-wide restructuring plan to focus on electronics, finance and construction, Samsung is selling its defense and military affiliates for almost $2 billion to South Korean compatriot Hanwha.