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Comcast's NBCUniversal agrees to sell A&E stake to Disney/Hearst for $3.03B

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Comcast's NBCUniversal is selling its stake in A&E Television Networks to Disney and Hearst for $3.03 billion in cash.

Comcast Corp., which owns 15.8 per cent of A&E, said Tuesday that it will sell its stake to 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, has a controlling interest in NBCUniversal and plans to acquire the remaining 49 per cent stake held by 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 and holds a 20 per cent stake in sports network ESPN.

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

Comcast shares dropped 6 cents to $31.22 in afternoon trading, while Disney stock fell 73 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $47.27.

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