Comcast Selling Stake in A&E for $3B

Company will now be controlled evenly by Disney and Hearst

Comcast is selling its stake in A&E Networks for $3.03 billion to co-owners the Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, according to public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The deal will involve cash and a note issued by A&E. If the deal goes through and gets approval, Disney and Hearst will each control half of the company. 

Comcast picked up the cable company behind the recent ratings smash "Hatfields & McCoys" as part of its 2011 purchase of a controlling interest in NBC Universal. It had a 15.8 percent share in A&E. 

The cable and satellite television company owns such networks as Lifetime and History. Through those channels it has fielded such programs such as "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and "Storage Wars." The sale price for Comcast's interest, gives A&E a valuation of $20 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

In return for selling the TV channel, Comcast gets cash that it can use to bolster NBC's flagging primetime line-up or acquire a larger interest in NBC Universal. 

A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

As a minority shareholder, Comcast had the option to sell its stake in the company, which was created after the 2009 merger of A&E and Lifetime. 

Shares in Comcast rose .41 percent to $31.40 on news of the sale.