Comcast Corp. has reached a $45 billion stock deal to buy Time Warner Cable, in a move that would merge the two biggest cable operators in the United States, US media reported. If confirmed, the transaction would mark Comcast's triumph over the nation's fourth largest cable operator, Charter Communications and its biggest shareholder, Liberty Media Corp. Comcast plans to announce the deal Thursday, according to The Los Angeles Times. The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying that Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive $158.82 a share in stock for their shares under the deal, about $23 a share above where TWC has been trading. Charter's most recent offer was valued at $132.50 a share, rejected as too low compared to TWC's goal of $160 a share. The Journal said TWC had long seen Comcast as a preferred merger partner, noting it approached Comcast about a deal last year in hopes of sidelining Charter.