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By Greg Roumeliotis and Jessica Toonkel NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Saturday it agreed to buy Time Warner Inc for $85.4 billion, the boldest move yet by a telecommunications company to acquire content to stream over its high-speed network to attract a growing number of online viewers. The biggest deal in the world this year will, if approved by regulators, give AT&T control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros and other coveted media assets. The tie-up will likely face intense scrutiny by U.S. antitrust enforcers worried that AT&T might try to limit distribution of Time Warner material.
AT&T announced a deal worth $108.7 billion for Time Warner that would create a powerhouse with control over a vast array of media and entertainment assets and the means to deliver them. The stock-and-cash deal values Time Warner -- with HBO, CNN and Warner Bros studios -- at more than $85 billion, and calls for AT&T to absorb the media group's debt. "This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," said AT&T chairman and chief executive Randall Stephenson.