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LEGO Movie owner Time Warner agrees to $86bn takeover by AT&T

Owner of hit children’s properties such as The LEGO Movie and LEGO Dimensions, Time Warner has agreed to a $86 billion takeover by the telecommunications company AT&T.

If the move is approved by regulators, the deal has been billed as the biggest of the year and will hand control of popular franchises such as DC Comics and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the film studio Warner Bros and other media assets to AT&T.

That would include the rights to the TV channels HBO – home of Game of Thrones – and CNN.

AT&T will pay $107.50 per Time Warner share, half in cash and half in stock in a deal the firm expects to close by the end of 2017.

However, US lawmakers have already expressed concern over the deal, calling for close regulatory scrutiny.

“Such a massive consolidation in this industry requires rigorous evaluation and serious scrutiny,” said US senator Richard Blumenthal, Senate Judiciary Committee member and former attorney general of Connecticut.

“I will be looking closely at what this merger means for consumers and their pocketbooks.”

US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said at a rally he would block any AT&T and Time Warner deal if he wins the November 8th election.

“It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” he said of the deal.

Despite the concerns, AT&T’s chief executive Randall Stephenson believes regulators will approve the deal.

“There is no competitive harm being rendered by putting these two companies together, so any concerns by the regulators, we believe, will be adequately addressed by conditions.”

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