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The hackers behind HBO’s recent data breach have leaked an email in which the U.S. cable channel offered them $250,000 as a “bounty payment,” Hollywood trade paper Variety reported on Thursday.

The message from HBO, the Time Warner Inc <TWX.N> cable unit that broadcasts “Game of Thrones,” offers the money as part of a program in which “white-hat professionals” are rewarded for identifying cyber security flaws, the Variety report said.

The email was worded in a way that would allow HBO to stall for time while it assessed the situation, Variety reported, citing a source close to HBO’s investigation.

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HBO also requested the hackers to extend a ransom payment deadline by one week, Variety said.

The Guardian and other publications reported earlier this week that hackers had posted some stolen HBO files online, demanding a bitcoin ransom to prevent additional releases.

HBO did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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The hack has come at a sensitive time for HBO, whose parent Time Warner is awaiting regulatory approval to sell itself to AT&T Inc <T.N> in an $85.4 billion deal announced in October.

(Reporting by Narottam Medhora in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)



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