From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Blockbuster, Viacom Shareholders Vote Today: The effort to join Blockbuster Entertainment Corp. with Viacom Inc. and its newly acquired Paramount Communications operation concludes today when shareholders at each company vote. Officials are optimistic that the $7.7-billion merger, which once appeared dead, will be approved when Viacom stockholders meet in New York and Blockbuster shareholders meet in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Blockbuster is the nation's biggest video retailer. Viacom is now an entertainment powerhouse, owner of such operations as cable channels MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as Paramount Pictures.

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