Walt Disney Co, Hearst Corp and NBC Universal said on Thursday that their jointly owned A&E Television Networks group will buy Lifetime Entertainment Services for an undisclosed sum.

Lifetime is a joint venture of Disney and Hearst. NBC Universal owns other women-oriented cable channels, such as Bravo and Oxygen.

The companies said the move was a bid to consolidate three of the leading cable networks under the single management of AETN Chief Executive Abbe Raven.

The company said in a statement that the business combination is expected to yield substantial cost efficiencies, as well as opportunities for cross promotion.

The new company will reach more than 250 million homes worldwide with channels that include A&E Network, History, Lifetime Television, Bio, History en Espanol, Military History and Crime & Investigation Network.

The deal, expected to close this year, includes provisions by which NBC may choose or be forced to divest its stake in the new company, leaving Disney and Hearst as equal partners, the statement said.