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.
The move is viewed as part of Samsung's plan to placate shareholders that have grown increasingly concerned about its declining smartphone business.
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.
But CEO Meg Whitman tells investors the software maker is entering 2015 with the "strongest portfolio" in a decade.
Shareholders will vote in February on investor Carl Icahn's "non-binding" proposal to increase Apple's stock buyback program to $50 billion.