July 11, 2012

Comcast Sells A&E Stake to ESPN owners for $3B

Comcast's NBCUniversal is selling its stake in A&E Television Networks to Disney and Hearst, both owners of Bristol's ESPN, for $3.03 billion in cash, The Associated Press reports.

Comcast Corp., which owns 15.8 percent of A&E, said that it will sell its stake to The Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., its partners in the A&E joint venture.

The company said in May that it had exercised an option requiring Disney and Hearst to buy back a significant portion of their ownership in A&E.

A&E channels include the History Channel, Lifetime, Biography as well as its namesake network.

Comcast, a cable company based in Philadelphia with digital communications customers throughout Connecticut, has a controlling interest in NBCUniversal and plans to acquire the remaining 49 percent stake held by Fairfield industrial conglomerate General Electric Co.

Hearst is one of the largest media companies in the U.S., owning newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle and magazines including Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. The company also operates 29 TV stations, including NBC Connecticut 30 in West Hartford, and holds a 20 percent stake in sports network ESPN.

Disney owns the rest of ESPN, along with a movie studio, more TV properties and theme parks.

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