Comcast has agreed to sell off its 15.8% stake in A+E Television Networks for US$3.025 billion – a considerable increase on the $2.8 billion figure reported last week – according to an SEC filing issued today (July 10).
In today’s 8-K filing, Comcast-controlled NBC Universal said the amount will be paid in cash, although under “certain limited circumstances” the amount may be paid in the form of cash and a senior note issued by A+E.
The stake is being acquired and divided equally by the other partners in the A+E joint venture, Disney and Hearst Corp, which will now each own 42.5% of the A+E group of channels, which includes A&E, BIO, Lifetime and History.
The transaction will be subject to federal anti-trust officials approving the deal.
The news comes after the New York Post last week reported that the recent ratings success of History series Hatfields & McCoys had significantly boosted the valuation of the stake. In a regulatory filing on May 2 this year, Comcast said the stake was worth $2.019 billion.
Hatfields & McCoys set basic cable viewing records across three nights earlier this summer, with the scripted mini-series registering the highest-rating entertainment telecasts yet for ad-supported basic cable, according to figures supplied by History and Nielsen Co.
The May finale brought in 14.3 million viewers, while parts one and two registered 13.9 million and 13.1 million viewers respectively.