Walt Disney Co., NBC Universal and Hearst Corp. have finalized an agreement to merge several cable networks together -- for now, anyway.
Under the terms of the agreement, A&E Television Networks, which is owned by all three companies, will acquire Lifetime Entertainment Services, which is owned by Disney and Hearst.
The channels that will make up the new entity are A&E, History Channel, Lifetime Television, Biography and a handful of smaller networks.
The deal is part of an ongoing process to reduce and eventually eliminate NBC Universal's stake in the entity. When the transaction is completed, Disney and Hearst each will own 42.5% and NBC Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric Co., will have a 15% stake. The companies said there are "mechanisms" that could require NBC Universal to exit the partnership in 15 years at most.