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Disney, Hearst Agree to Buy AETN Stake for $3 Billion

The Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. have agreed to purchase NBCUniversal's 15% interest in A+E Television Networks for $3 billion, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday.

According to the filing, Disney and Hearst, partners in AETN with NBCU, agreed to purchase the stake for cash on July 9. After the deal is closed, Disney and Hearst will each own 50% of AETN, which includes A&E Network, The History Channel, Bio, Crime & Investigation Network and Military History.

NBCU has had the right to put its interest in AETN to its partners since 2009, part of the agreement that combined AETN with cable channel Lifetime. In its 10-Q quarterly financial statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in May, NBCU said it would exercise its right to require AETN to purchase its interest. The deal was expected to close in the second half of this year, according to the 10-Q. At the time it valued its AETN stake at about $2 billion.