Ailing Health Net buys out Belo stake

NEW YORK — America’s Health Network, which laid off 161 of its 200 employees last week, has bought out A.H. Belo’s majority stake in the company .

The parties declined to comment on one report that Belo’s stake is valued at about $60 million. Michael McCarthy, senior corporate VP of Belo, said, “Whatever prospects America’s Health Network has for success, we felt it was not intrinsic to our business.” Belo is managing general partner of the TV Food Network, which reaches 21 million subscribers compared with only 6.3 million for AHN. Belo also has an equity stake in the 12th-largest cable operator in the U.S., Falcon Cable TV.

“We have a lot of confidence in AHN,” said Web Golinkin, chairman and CEO of AHN, explaining why the network bought the Belo shares. AHN suffered a major setback last week when Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. — under federal criminal investigation for fraud — decided not to go ahead with a planned $25 million investment in the channel.

Golinkin said he is negotiating new financing with an unidentified media company, which he hopes to get completed by the end of September. AHN’s largest shareholders are Allen & Co., Access Health Inc., IVI Publishing and Medical Innovation Partners.

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