Chatter that AOL Time Warner Inc. wants to unload its stakes in Comedy Central and
Courtroom Television Network percolated Monday amid a report that the company is involved in talks
to deal Comedy.
AOL Time Warner is in early discussions to sell its Comedy Central stake to
partner Viacom Inc., according to The New York Times. The report said similar
talks with Court TV partner Liberty Media Corp. would be next.
An AOL Time Warner spokesperson declined to comment.
Industry executives said a sale of either channel does not appear imminent.
But as AOL Time Warner looks for ways to decrease its debt load, Comedy
and Court TV have been identified as prime sellable assets.
Speculation has been stepped up as the company unravels its Time Warner
Entertainment, agreeing last month to pay AT&T Broadband $3.5 billion in
cash and stock and hand over about a 30 percent stake in its cable operation in
exchange for AT&T Broadband's 27.6 percent TWE stake. (Comedy and
Court TV are, in fact, part of TWE).
Both cable networks are valuable assets, having improved both ratings and
distribution in recent years.
"Court TV has significantly appreciated over the last four years," president Henry Schleiff said. "Both of our corporate parents will do what is in
their mutual best interest for the network."
So far, other than Viacom and Liberty, no other suitors have been