HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) _ Shareholders of the four telephone companies in Atlantic Canada have endorsed a merger forming a new telecommunications company.

The shareholders of Maritime Tel and Tel in Nova Scotia, NewTel in Newfoundland and Bruncor in New Brunswick have voted overwhelmingly to approve the merger, officials announced Wednesday.

Shareholders of Island Telecom in Prince Edward Island voted in favor of the move Tuesday.

The new company, to be known as AtlanticCo, will employ 9,000.

The merger remains subject to regulatory approval, which is expected soon.