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Yahoo Has Not Approached Scripps About Buying Food Network: Sources

Contrary to a report that Yahoo held discussions with Scripps Networks Interactive about the possibility of acquiring Food Network or the whole company, two individuals with direct knowledge of the situation said Yahoo has not even made overtures to SNI about any prospective deals.

A report Thursday by Business Insider, citing an anonymous source, said Yahoo entered into talks with SNI to acquire Food last year. Those discussions then progressed to explore the potential of Yahoo buying the entire company, whose other networks include HGTV and Travel Channel, according to the BI story.

However, while Yahoo mulled buying Food or other Scripps properties internally, the Internet media company has not — either formally or informally — ever approached SNI about a potential deal, according to the sources. The companies haven’t had any such discussions to date. Scripps Networks currently has a market cap of more than $10 billion; Yahoo had about $10.3 billion in cash and equivalents as of Sept. 30, 2014.

Reps for Yahoo and SNI declined to comment. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” a Yahoo spokeswoman said.

Yahoo also “may have interest in buying CNN,” according to the BI report. Reps for CNN did not respond to requests for comment; a spokesman for parent company Time Warner declined to comment.

The BI report was written by Nicholas Carlson, whose book “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo” is slated to be released Jan. 6.

Chatter about Yahoo’s supposed interest in cable TV comes after the company landed a windfall of billions in cash following the blockbuster IPO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Since then, there’s been copious speculation about what Yahoo might do with the money, including suggestions it could merge with AOL.

Since Alibaba’s September IPO, Yahoo has clinched one major deal — announcing a pact in November to acquire BrightRoll, a programmatic video-advertising platform, for $640 million in cash.

In late 2013, Discovery Communications held preliminary talks with SNI about an acquisition, as first reported by Variety. However, that deal never came to pass.

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