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A&E ties up deal for Lifetime

A&E has sealed a deal for fellow US cable network Lifetime and will install A&E Television Networks boss Abbe Raven as CEO of the new entity when the deal closes later this year. Current Lifetime CEO Andrea Wong will remain in charge of the female-skewing network, reporting to Raven.

A&E is backed by Disney-ABC Television, Hearst and NBC Universal and Lifetime is a 50-50 joint venture between Disney and Hearst. The unison of the two cable channel operators will leave Disney and Hearst as equal largest shareholders and NBC Universal with about 15%.

The A&E and Lifetime brands will be kept, the shareholders said. No financial details were disclosed.

AETN’s international arm has aggressively launched its family of channels internationally while Lifetime has, thus far, remained focused on the US market. AETN’s portfolio of channels includes History, Bio and Crime & Investigation.

Speaking to TBIVision in late 2009, Abbe Raven said: “International is a critical piece of the business strategy, it is a growth engine for us as a corporation. We very wisely saw that a few years ago, we thought about it, and built a library of content. We want to be a leader in quality programming around the world.”