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Sun Valley: Scripps Networks Among Suitors for Liberty’s Chellomedia (EXCLUSIVE)

Exec says consolidation in cable biz is 'generally a good thing'

Liberty Global’s Chellomedia international cable channels have attracted a healthy number of suitors since the unit was put on the block in May.

Liberty Global chief Mike Fries would not put a timetable on the sale process when pressed on the matter Friday while he was attending the Allen & Co. moguls confab in Sun Valley, Idaho. Fries called the overall consolidation of the cable industry “inevitable.”

Scripps Networks Interactive is among the interested strategic players, as Variety reported Tuesday, although Fries would not comment on individual buyers. Scripps’ interest in Chellomedia is notable given that many Wall Street observers have been eying the former company as an acquisition target itself.

Scripps declined to comment.

Fries said Chellomedia had already attracted at least eight prospective strategic buyers and eight financial bidders. Chellomedia, Liberty Global’s international content division, includes 68 channels distribbed in 13 countries across Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Fries’ comments came days after Liberty Media chief John Malone cited the need for broader consolidation in the cable industry. Liberty’s interest in acquiring Time Warner Cable has been the talk of the Allen & Co. conference. Fries declined to comment on Liberty’s interest in the company, but agreed with Malone’s broader sentiments about consolidation.

“I think it’s generally a good thing,” Fries said.

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