Comcast is selling its share in A&E Networks to raise cash for other acquisitions, reported the New York Post today.
The other big media money news of the week - Microsoft's $6.2 billion write-off for its poor performing internet services division weighted down by the Bing search engine.
The A&E Television Networks group includes the History Channel, Lifetime and A&E. Thanks to a recent run-up in value sparked by high rated shows like A&E's "Storage Wars" and History Channel's "Hatfields & McCoys," Comcast expects to get a fat $2.8 billion for its 15 percent stake, to be bought and split evenly by majority stockholders Hearst and Disney-ABC.
The Post says Comcast needs to raise cash with the expectation that General Electric will exercise an option in 2014 to sell half of its remaining 49 percent stake in NBC/Universal to the now 51 percent share-holding Comcast. There's also talk Comcast wants to buy out Microsoft's 50 percent share in the co-owned website, MSNBC.com.
Microsoft may be more receptive, given how much money its Internet division is bleeding, blamed largely on Bing. The search engine has failed to attract enough eyeballs and advertising dollars, leading Microsoft to now write-down a $6.3 billion acquisition of the web ad broker aQuantive that was supposed to drive the glory train.
Here's hoping Microsoft doesn't just pull the plug on Bing. From personal experience in recent weeks, Bing's been bringing up more varied and relevant results than the all-mighty Google.