Bloomberg’s Brooke Sutherland notes Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., owner of the Travel Channel, HGTV and most of the Food Network, is poised to lure bids now that the controlling family trust has disbanded, which had 93.5 percent of the voting rights.
The family trust is being dissolved because of the death of Robert P. Scripps, a grandson of the founder.
The trust’s holdings, including 28.4 percent of Scripps Networks’s publicly traded Class A common shares and 93.5 percent of the voting shares as of Sept. 30, will now be distributed to descendants of Edward W. Scripps.
Scripps Networks — with shows from Deen’s “Paula’s Home Cooking”to “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”and “House Hunters”– focuses on topics such as cooking, gardening, housing and travel, and owns HGTV, the Travel Channel, DIY Network, the Cooking Channel, Great American Country, and 69 percent of the Food Network.
According to data compiled by Bloomberg, Scripps has the second-fastest projected sales growth through 2015 among 13 U.S. media companies valued at $1 billion or more.
Scripps Networks, which split from E.W. Scripps Co.’s newspaper assets in 2008, also offers the industry’s highest return on assets at 14 percent.
Some financial analysts see Time Warner and Walt Disney, owner of sports network ESPN, as potential buyers because Scripps Networks would add more female-friendly content.
Scripps Networks “probably belongs in a larger entity,”Amy Yong, a New York-based analyst told Bloomberg. The dissolution of the family trust last week “puts Scripps into play,”she added.
“Anyone who doesn’t have kind of female-centric or lifestyle-centric content would want to own this”
Robin Diedrich, a St. Louis-based analyst at Edward Jones, said Scripps Networks’s content is “all pay-TV-based, so that in and of itself I think is a very attractive business model because you’re getting paid for that subscription fee — very recurring revenue — in addition to advertising”
Jason Bazinet, a New York-based analyst at Citigroup, wrote that Disney of Burbank, California, may be drawn to Scripps Networks to fill a “yawning gap”in its programming: “upscale, older women”
The $92.9 billion company caters to children with the Disney Channel, teens with comic- book division Marvel, and men with ESPN, while Scripps Networks tends to attract women older than 49, Bazinet said.
Another possible bidder is Philadelphia-based Comcast, which purchased a cable-TV system from E.W. Scripps Co. in 1996, said Carne Capital’s Bonner.
Comcast acquired control of NBC Universal in 2011, adding networks from CNBC to USA Network to the company’s existing cable delivery system.