Scripps buys 65% stake in Travel Channel, forms JV with Cox

Thu, 11/05/2009 - 8:00am
Mike Robuck

Cox Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive announced today that they have formed a joint venture for the ownership and management of Travel Channel Media.

Under terms of the deal, Cox will keep a 35 percent stake in Travel Media Channel, while Scripps will have controlling interest with its 65 percent interest. The agreement is slated to close over the next few months.

Cox will contribute the Travel Channel, and Scripps Networks Interactive will contribute $181 million in cash to the new partnership. The partnership, in turn, will take on $878 million in third-party debt that will be guaranteed by Scripps and indemnified by Cox, with the proceeds to be distributed to Cox. The total valuation of the agreement is $975 million.

"This solid partnership we're establishing today allows us to maintain an interest in Travel Channel, while at the same time giving the network an opportunity to leverage the resources and expertise of a successful programmer like Scripps Networks Interactive," said Cox President Patrick Esser. "Scripps has an outstanding reputation as a company, an employer and a programmer. Over the past 15 years, Scripps Networks Interactive has built a portfolio of leading lifestyle programming brands and we think this complementary expertise will be a boon to Travel Channel's future growth."

Cox, the nation’s third-largest MSO, acquired the Travel Channel from Discovery Communications in 2007. Cox said in June that it had received unsolicited offers for the Travel Channel, with NCB Universal and News Corp. among the reported suitors.

With the JV, Scripps will have access to a channel distributed in roughly 95 million homes across the nation that boasts shows such as “Man vs. Food” and “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.”

"Adding the Travel Channel and its related enterprises provides us with a unique opportunity to meaningfully expand our portfolio into a lifestyle category that is highly desirable to media consumers, advertisers and programming distributors,” said Kenneth Lowe, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive. “Among cable companies, Cox has an outstanding reputation for its vision and investment for the long-term success of its businesses. We look forward to partnering with them in this venture."

More Broadband Direct 11/05/09:
•  TWC plans to eliminate STBs, step up Promotions on Demand
•  Scripps buys 65% stake in Travel Channel, forms JV with Cox
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•  Cisco's earnings drop, CEO upbeat
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