Travel bids in

Bids for a majority stake in the US Travel Channel have come in substantially ahead of initial expectations, with unexpected private equity interest adding to demand from media companies in the resilient cable television industry.

Second-round offers indicate that a sale of the 65 per cent stake that Cox Communications put up for sale in June could value the US channel at $800m or more.

Scripps Networks Interactive, the Food Network owner that was seen as the favourite in the auction, is among the groups to have been told this week that they are through to a further round. Strong offers have also come in from News Corp, which is bidding through its majority-owned National Geographic Channel, and from three private equity groups.

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