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AT&T in advanced talks to buy Time Warner: banking source

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Telecom giant AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire entertainment group Time Warner, a banking source familiar with the negotiations said Friday.

[NEW YORK] Telecom giant AT&T is in advanced talks to acquire entertainment group Time Warner, a banking source familiar with the negotiations said Friday.

A deal possibly worth more than US$70 billion could be announced as soon as Monday, the source told AFP, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal. Time Warner's assets include the networks CNN and HBO.

The two parties have reached agreement on many important points, but key outstanding issues include the exact price and a breakup fee should antitrust regulators balk at the transaction, the source said.

The deal would be structured in cash and stock, but there is a chance other prospective acquirers could step forward, the source added.

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A union of the two media giants, together worth more than US$300 billion in market value, would be sure to face tough scrutiny from US antitrust regulators because of the ripple effects across media platforms.

Analysts believe the transaction also could spark other big deals involving large media companies.

The negotiations come amid challenges to media companies due to the decline of conventional cable television as more consumers turn to streaming on mobile technology.

AFP

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