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Time Warner Inc., "aggressively pursuing its 'cable clustering' strategy agreed to acquire the KBLCOM unit of Houston Industries Inc. for $1 billion in stock and the assumption of $1.24 billion in debt." The purchase would give Time Warner 10 million cable subscribers, bringing it closer to TCI's 11 million. "Equally important, it would give the company substantial blocks of new customers in areas it already serves and move it closer than ever to an all-out battle with telephone companies" (Collier & Klein, BLOOMBERG BUSINESS NEWS/BOSTON GLOBE, 1/28). In addition, Time Warner will buy the remaining 50% interest in Paragon Communications, a joint venture with KBLCOM. Paragon has 967,000 subscribers in New York. In NYC, Time Warner is now "set to go head-to-head with NYNEX Corp. for multimedia clients" (L.A. TIMES, 1/28). Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin called his company "the best-positioned cable operator," with 3/4 of their customers in 30 large groupings of more than 100,000 customers (Glenn Collins, N.Y. TIMES, 1/28).