Comcast is close to finalizing a sale of the 15% interest in A+E Television Networks owned by its NBC Universal joint venture for nearly $3 billion, according to published reports.
According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, NBCU could sell the stake for as much as $2.8 billion. The stake would be split equally between AETN's joint owners The Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Television, which each currently hold a 42.5% interest in the group of channels. After the deal is concluded, Disney and Hearst would each own a 50% interest in AETN.
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.
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