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Disney in Talks With Hearst to Sell A+E Networks European Channels

November 13, 2018 / JEFF GRUBB

Disney is in talks with Hearst to sell off its interest in five European cable channels that are part of the larger A+E Networks joint venture between the companies.Disney last week agreed to divest the channels as a condition of receiving approval for the 21st Century Fox transaction from the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. The regulatory review concluded that Disney would have too much market power in the lifestyle and factual programming arena by bringing Fox’s National Geographic Partners channels group together with its 50% ownership of A+E Networks.Hearst is negotiating a buyout of Disney’s stakes in History, H2, Crime & Investigation, Blaze, and Lifetime channels serving the U.K., Italy, Germany, and Iberia. The transaction is small, described by one insider as insignificant to a company of Disney’s size and scope, and Hearst is the logical buyer. But completing an agreement, which could involve some other business dealings be...