Members of the family that controls Scripps Networks Interactive are said to be preparing to vote on whether the company should sell itself to one of two suitors, Discovery Communications or Viacom Inc., according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reported Tuesday that members of the Scripps family are expected to meet Tuesday to consider a potential sale, citing people familiar with the matter. The family members are said to control a 91.8% voting stake in the company. Spokespersons for Scripps, Viacom and Discovery all declined to comment. Scripps controls cable’s Food Network, HGTV and the Travel Channel, among other properties.
The Scripps-Discovery recipe has been tasted before. In late 2013, the two companies pondered a tie-up, only to go their own separate ways. Viacom, if it were to add Scripps to its portfolio, would gain new content categories that might help it gain leverage in its pricing and fee negotiations with cable and satellite distributors. Given a clear consumer desire for so-called “skinny bundles,” eroding linear-TV viewership and softer advertiser demand for cable, said Michael Nathanson, an independent media-industry analyst, “there is a clear need for the non-broadcast-affiliated content owners like Scripps, Discovery, Viacom and AMC Networks to gain distributor negotiating leverage and cost savings through mergers.”