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ABC, NBC & Hearst buy up rest of A&E

Three of the four owners of the Arts & Entertainment Network — ABC, NBC and the Hearst Corp. — have ponied up about $ 72 million for the rights to the 12.5 % of A&E owned by Radio City Music Hall.

The result of the buyout is that ABC and Hearst will increase their A&E ownership to 37.5%, and NBC’s stake will rise to 25%.

Won’t affect programming

A joint statement said that since those were roughly the same ownership proportions before the partners divvied up the Radio City allotment, the “new partnership arrangement will have no effect on A&E’s programming.”

Cable investment analysts derived the $ 72 million figure from taking 12.5% of the estimated $ 575-million value of the network.

“This deal is testimony to the fact that our appetite for ownership of cable properties is continuing to grow,” said Ray Joslyn, group head of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication.

Joslyn added that Hearst and ABC, two-thirds owners of the Lifetime cable network, are still discussing buying out Viacom’s one-third Lifetime share.

The A&E transaction, which extends the ongoing partnership for “an additional 50 years,” became effective June 9.

In addition to Joslyn, the executives making the announcement were Tom Rogers , president of NBC cable and business development, and Herb Granath, president of Capital Cities/ABC Video Enterprises Inc.

Radio City Music Hall is a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Group Inc., which was one of A&E’s founding partners.

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