Diller’s Ovation option

USA may buy arts cabler for $80 million

Barry Diller’s USA Networks is eyeing Ovation, a small cable network focused on the arts whose investors include Time Warner and the New York Times.

Reports trickling out this week say Diller may be willing to pay Ovation’s $80 million asking price. The USA topper has said publicly he’s pursing a cable strategy that could include launching new networks or acquiring them if they’re affordable. He had on again-off again talks with Cablevision to buy that company’s AMC, Bravo and/or Independent Film Channel, but the parties couldn’t agree on price.

Cablevision’s Rainbow programming division has apparently also been contacted by Ovation’s bankers at Allen & Co.

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