Scripps Networks takeover speculation heats up

Speculation about the future of Scripps Networks Interactive is heating up. Bloomberg has a
scripps2_asb_13138.jpglengthy story today about the likelihood that the Knoxville-based lifestyle media company will be snatched up by a larger media operation.

Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. are listed as possible suitors.

“Walt Disney Co. (DIS), owner of sports network ESPN, should be drawn to Scripps Networks as a way to add more female-friendly content, said Citigroup Inc. and Macquarie Group Ltd., which also sees Time Warner (TWX) Inc. as a potential acquirer,” Bloomberg reports.

Another report lists CBS Corp. and the Discovery Channel as possible buyers.

Bloomberg quotes an analyst who says Scripps Networks could draw bids of $80 a share, well above today’s late morning trading price of $62.23. Last week, possible sale of Scripps Networks came into play with the end of a trust that controlled ownership of the company.

The trust ended with the death of Robert P. Scripps, a grandson of Edward W. Scripps, founder of The E.W. Scripps Co. Scripps Networks has been controlled by a family trust since 2008, when it was spun off from the E.W. Scripps Co.

Scripps Networks declined to comment for the Bloomberg report. Last week. Scripps Networks Chairman Ken Lowe struck a soothing tone for investors.

“As one generation of the Scripps family passes and the next steps forward to take the reins, we’re confident that the transition in the control of Scripps Networks Interactive will be smooth and seamless,” Lowe said in a news release.


Bloomberg: Scripps Networks Seen Luring Disney as Trust Disbands

Wall Street Cheat Sheet: …M&A Speculation Over Scripps

New York Post: Scripps Networks now seen as takeover target

Full disclosure: I own a small number of Scripps Networks shares.