Comcast Looking To Buy TechTV

Comcast is expected to acquire Paul Allen's computer-info channel TechTV for about $300 million, to merge it with Comcast's fledgling G4 channel, reports VARIETY, in an effort to boost its programming assets and subscriber reach.

The merger of G4 and TechTV, would combine the best original programming of each into a videogame-focused, computer and technology-based network, reaching around 45 million subs, targeted to the highly desirable male 18-34 demo.

Comcast (www.comcast.com) is negotiating to buy out Charlie Ergen's satellite distributor EchoStar 10% stake in TechTV (www.techtv.com).

Cable operators who carry G4 (www.g4tv.com) or Tech TV may protest the merger, claiming the change in programming represent a breach in the carriage contract. They could threaten to cancel unless Comcast agrees to a reduction in monthly license fees. Comcast's is expected to counter that the content of both networks is substantially the same, and the merged net will end up delivering more viewers.

TechTV would become Comcast's second wholly owned cable net, alongside the Golf Network. Comcast, the largest cable operator in the U.S., reaching 22 million subscribers, also owns Comcast Sports Net in Philadelphia and controlling stakes in E! Entertainment TV, the Style network and the Outdoor Life Channel. Comcast last month created a Chicago regional sports channel.

G4 chief exec and founder Charles Hirschorn and coo Debra Green are expected to stay on as ceo and coo of the merged network, respectively.

Neither Comcast nor Vulcan would confirm or deny deal terms.

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