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JetBlue selling in-flight-TV unit for $400 million

NEW YORK (AP) -- JetBlue Airways Corp. said Thursday it will sell its LiveTV in-flight entertainment business to French technology company Thales Group for $400 million.

The airline said that when the deal closes, which is expected in mid-2014, it will enter into a long-term agreement to keep using LiveTV on its planes.

Shares of JetBlue rose 6 cents to close at $8.81, bucking an airline slump that saw stock in rivals American, United, Delta and Southwest fall by between 1 percent and 3 percent.

JetBlue said the sale would reduce its operating costs and capital spending compared with running LiveTV as a subsidiary.

Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker said the sales price could be low if Thales is correct in believing that LiveTV can generate more than $150 million in revenue this year.

Thales, which sells onboard technology systems to airlines, aircraft makers and military customers, said the acquisition would boost its position in a fast-growing business.

LiveTV competes with Gogo Inc., which reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter loss attributable to common shares narrowed to $22.1 million from $36 million a year ago, and revenue climbed 46 percent to $92.6 million. Gogo shares fell $1.89, or 7.9 percent, to $21.99.