Posted at 2:48 p.m. ET
A&E Television Networks president and CEO Abbe Raven has been named to run a new company being formed by Disney-ABC TV, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal,
according to several sources close to talks. The new entity merges the
various assets of AETN and Lifetime and creates a powerhouse cable
company with 10 channels in 145 countries, three of the top 12 cable
brands and 15 Websites.
Lifetime president and chief executive
Andrea Wong will report to Raven, staff heard Thursday, though the
management structure for other positions such as sales and marketing
are yet to be determined. The cost-saving initiative, long suggested by
Disney CEO Bob Iger, will enable Lifetime to take advantage of being
part of a larger cable entity which is both highly profitable and
already well-established on the international scene. Raven has worked
for A&E Television Networks for 25 years running both A&E and
History Channels. She took her current position in 2005. Raven is
credited with both turning around A&E after it hit a bump, and with
growing the company's brands internationally.
spokesman said, "We can confirm we are in conversations with our
partners on the ownership structure, no agreement has been reached and
we have no announcements." A separate source said that NBC Universal's
stake in the new venture would be in the mid-teens, that is about half
of the company's current stake in A&E Television Networks, which is
also owned by Disney-ABC TV and Hearst Corporation.