Comcast Selling QVC for $7.9B

The parent company of Cable giant Comcast Thursday said it has agreed to sell shopping network QVC, Inc. to Liberty Media for an estimated $7.9 billion.

The deal transfers Philadelphia-based Comcast’s 57 percent controlling interest in the shopping network, its online property as well as its subsidiaries and divisions: Q Direct, Q Records and Video, QVC @, QVC Local, and QVC ProductWorks.

Despite selling the hot property, Comcast said it is still very much in the content business.

“This has been a very difficult decision for Comcast. QVC is an exceptional and unique business, but we took a very disciplined financial approach to our evaluation. The cable business continues to be our core focus,” Comcast president and CEO Brian Roberts said in a statement. “With the opportunity to sell at an attractive valuation in excess of $14 billion, we have the flexibility to improve our already strong financial position and to invest for future growth. I believe this is a terrific outcome for both parties.”

The largest cable company in the United States, Comcast boasts upwards of 21.3 million cable subscribers. The company’s content businesses include majority ownership of Comcast Spectacor, Comcast SportsNet, E! Entertainment Television, Style, The Golf Channel, Outdoor Life Network and G4.

QVC reaches more than 85 million homes and has international operations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

If the deal is successful, Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty will own approximately 98 percent of QVC’s outstanding shares and QVC will become a controlled subsidiary. Members of the QVC management team hold the remaining shares. Liberty expects the deal to close by the end of the year.

At one time, the cable/technology holding company considered selling its stake in QVC to bid on DirecTV at the same time News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch had his sights set on it.

Published reports suggest Liberty is also looking at buying Vivendi Universal’s U.S. entertainment assets, which include Universal Television, Universal Pictures, the Sci-fi Channel and USA Network.

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