Conglom's stake in company estimated to be worth $2 billion

Comcast is selling most of the minority stake in A&E Networks that came with its acquisition of NBCUniversal last year.

Conglom exercised an option to unload a “substantial portion” of the 15.8% stake in the company on March 26, according to a 10-Q filing issued Wednesday. “We expect the transaction to close during the second half of 2012, upon the agreement by all parties as to the value of NBCUniversal’s equity interest,” Comcast said.

Comcast’s stake in A&E Networks, which includes cable channels A&E, History and Lifetime, is worth more than $2 billion, according to the filing, which doesn’t specify how much the company is selling.

Hearst and Disney, which each own about 42% of A&E Networks, will likely split ownership of the company going forward. The companies also co-own ESPN, though Hearst has only a 20% stake in the valuable all-sports network.

The option was put in place when all three companies agreed to merge the assets of Lifetime and A&E Networks in 2009.

Comcast also maintains smaller stakes in companies including SpectrumCo, MSNBC.com, Clearwire and Weather Channel.

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