A&E to redeem the 15.8% stake
Comcast will sell its 15.8% stake in A&E Television Networks back to A&E for just over $3 billion, the company said Tuesday.The move leaves A&E in the hands of co-owners Walt Disney and Hearst and gives Comcast a good pile of cash to put toward buying out the stake in NBCUniversal it doesn’t already own. The $3.03 billion transaction will be in cash and notes issued by A&E, Comcast said in an SEC filing. Comcast acquired a 51% stake in NBCU from General Electric in 2009. GE will sell Comcast half of the remaining stake in June 2014. A&E’s network group includes Lifetime, Military Channel, History Channel and Crime & Investigation Network. History’s “Hatfields and McCoys” miniseries was a hit with viewers this spring. Disney and Hearst will now become 50-50 partners in A&E. The original three-way ownership pact included a clause allowing NBC to exit the partnership, and it exercised the option to do so in March.