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Discovery abandons Scripps buyout

Discovery Networks is reported to have ended negotiations to buy Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI). The reason given by the WSJ is that Scripps’ all-important family shareholding members were reluctant to sell, and that the timing was not right.

Discovery’s interest in Scripps was based on the fast-growing portfolio of US and international channels under the SNI banner, including HGTV, Travel Channel and a majority interest in Food Network. SNI has a market-cap of some $12 billion, while Discovery is about $30 billion.

The talks were said to be at an extremely early stage and no formal negotiations were entered into.

The ending of a formal Scripps family trust that restricted any possible sale was seen, by some, as a catalyst in opening up negotiations. The Trust still owns much of the company’s voting stock and a 43 per cent economic interest in SNI.

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