Scripps Networks Interactive bids for United Kingdom broadcaster

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Knoxville-based Scripps Networks Interactive is among three U.S. cable TV networks looking to buy a United Kingdom broadcaster, according to published reports.
The lifestyle media company is in the running to acquire the U.K’s Channel 5, according to a report by The Financial Times, which cited an unnamed source “familiar with the process.”
Cable networks Viacom and Discovery Channel also submitted bids by the Feb. 27 deadline, as did private equity group Saban Capital, according to the story published Friday by the British business news organization
The amount of the bids is unknown, but Channel 5 is reportedly seeking a price of $1.17 billion, according to Financial Times.
All of the bidders declined to comment, the Financial Times reported.
Scripps officials on Monday could not immediately be reached for comment.
Channel 5, a general entertainment broadcaster, launched in 1997. It was purchased in 2010 by English newspaper and magazine publisher Richard Desmond.
International expansion is a priority for Scripps Networks, which has invested heavily in building its global audience over the last several years. In 2012 it purchased the U.K.-based Travel Channel International Ltd.
Scripps Networks Chairman Ken Lowe said last month in a conference call with analysts that the Travel Channel audience in the United Kingdom increased 57 percent last year and said Scripps is making “steady progress” in expanding its presence in Russia, Poland, the Philippines and other international markets.
Scripps Networks also has in recent months made a number of executive appointments for its international operations. Last month, Kevin Chorlins,was named to the newly created role of senior vice president of international content and brand strategy.
Click here for the Financial Times report.
Click here for more from Variety.

Apple tops Fortune’s ‘most admired’ companies list

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CORRECTION: This post has been updated to remove an incorrect reference to TeamHealth of Knoxville appearing on Fortune’s 2014 ‘Most Admired’ companies list. The 2014 list did not include companies in TeamHealth’s industry sector

For the seventh consecutive year, Apple is No. 1 overall on Fortune’s list of the Top 50 World’s Most Admired Companies, followed by Internet retailer Amazon.com and Internet search engine Google.
Rounding out the top five are investment guru Warren Buffett’s firm, Berkshire-Hathaway, and coffee giant Starbucks.
Tennessee’s only representative among the Top 50 is FedEx Corp. The Memphis-based package delivery company is No. 8 overall and No. 2 in the delivery industry, behind Germany’s Deutsche Post.
The Top 50 list and industry sector rankings are based on a survey of executives, directors, and analysts who rate companies in their industry on a variety of criteria, including investment value and social responsibility.

Click here for Fortune’s complete list of World’s Most Admired Companies.

John Burlingame retiring from Scripps Networks board

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Networks Interactive announced that John Burlingame will retire from the Knoxville-based lifestyle media company’s board of directors when his current term expires.
Burlingame’s retirement will mark the end of a lengthy corporate relationship with the Scripps family and the Scripps companies.
A retired partner in the law firm of Baker & Hostetler, Burlingame has been a director of Scripps Networks since 2008 when it was spun-off from The E.W. Scripps Co., the owner of 19 television stations and newspapers in 13 markets, including the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Burlingame served as a director of E.W. Scripps for 24 years, retiring from the Cincinnati-based company’s board in 2012.
In addition, he had been a  trustee of the Edward W. Scripps Trust since 1987. The family trust, which had controlled the company since 1922, terminated in October, 2012, and is in the process of winding up.
Scripps Networks portfolio includes the cable and Internet brands Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, and Great American Country.

New Sea Ray yacht makes debut

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Winter has a few weeks to go, but boat show season is already here.
And Knoxville-based Sea Ray Boats is taking full advantage. The manufacturer this week introduced its new L- class yachts at the Yacht and Brokerage Show in Miami.
The flagship of Sea Ray’s new product line is the L650 Fly, a two-bridge boat that can reach a speed of more than 30 knots and comes with a master suite,  two additional staterooms, “spacious entertainment areas,” and “a robust helm station.”
The new yacht is — in the breathless prose that only a  news release writer can summon —  “a stunning example of design innovation and a paragon of Sea Ray’s Next Wave initiative to deliver a next-level boating experience.”
Or as Sea Ray President Tim Schiek says in the same news release: “The L-Class speaks not only to Sea Ray’s commitment to purposeful innovation, but also to the company’s strong legacy of impeccable craftsmanship, performance and service. It’s a marriage of style and substance— because we firmly believe in the importance of both.”
The news release doesn’t mention a price, but as the saying goes: “If you have to ask ….”
Sea Ray is a division of Brunswick Corp.
Click here for the Sea Ray news release.

Scripps Networks Interactive adds $1B to share buyback

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Networks Interactive headquarters

Scripps Network Interactive has added another $1 billion to its share repurchase plan and boosted its quarterly dividend.
The Knoxville-based lifestyle media company’s board approved the extra billion for the buyback plan Thursday, a day before the company’s releases its quarterly financial report.
The billion dollars is on top of the $647 million remaining in the previous share repurchase authorization as of Dec. 31, 2013, the company said.
The board also approved a dividend payment of 20 cents, an increase from 15 cents. The  dividend will be paid March 10 to shareholders of record on Feb. 28.
The company’s lifestyle media portfolio includes  television and Internet brands HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country.
Shares of Scripps Networks shed 39 cents in Thursday trading to close at $77.44.
Scripps is expected to release its financial report before the market opens Friday.

Regal Entertainment wants to give you a drone

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Drones have been in the news recently and now you have a chance to win your very own unmanned aerial vehicle.
If you are a Regal Crown Club member, that is.
Knoxville-based movie theater operator Regal Entertainment Group announced that it will give away a drone to a lucky Crown Club member who buys a ticket for the new movie “RoboCop.”
The winner will be chosen in a random drawing.
“Just as OmniCorp maintains its role as the center of robot and drone technology in the year 2028 in the film ‘RoboCop,’ Regal wanted to provide its most loyal fans a chance to win an innovative and cutting-edge drone of their very own,” Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer for Regal said in a news release.
Drones made headlines last week Knoxville when an unmanned aerial vehicle was used to inspect the fire-damaged McClung warehouses in downtown Knoxville.
Questions were raised about a possible violation of a federal ban on using drones for commercial purposes.
Personal use of a drone is apparently OK with the feds. Think of the fun you’ll have swooping around the neighborhood, scaring dogs, snapping pictures of …. whatever.
The drone built by Lehman Aviation comes with a camera, batteries, storage/shipping case and a Sony tablet, according to a news release.
Click here for the Regal announcement.

Southland tech conference attracts impressive speakers

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An impressive list of speakers are scheduled for Launch Tennessee’s 2014 Southland Conference, an event celebrating entrepreneurship and Southern culture.
The second annual event will be held in Nashville June 9-11.
The list includes former Vice President Al Gore; PayPal President David Marcus; Evernote CEO Phil Libin; Bonobos,Inc. CEO Andy Dunn; Coatue Management Senior Managing Director Thomas Laffont; and Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands, Inc.
Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting entrepreneurship and development of high-growth companies across the state.
Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock called Southland “the perfect platform to showcase the strong tech and startup culture throughout the southeast.”
The event will offer more than a bunch of talking heads.
“Yet to be announced are the buzz-worthy musical talents lined up by the co-producers of Bonnaroo, the top 50 Southeastern startups selected to participate in the Southland Village trade show, the 10 leading startup companies from throughout the country invited to pitch to investor panels and the names of investors who will comprise these panels,” Brock wrote in a recent column.
Click here for more on Southland.
Click here for a recent News Sentinel video interview with Charlie Brock

Loudon boatmaker Malibu Boats sets IPO price

malibu boats

Malibu Boats, the Loudon, Tenn.-based maker of watersports towboats, is the latest area company to go public.
The boat maker has set its IPO price at $14 per share and is scheduled to start trading today on the Nasdaq market under the symbol MBUU.
The company is looking to raise more than $100 million.
With the economy gaining strength and consumer confidence improving, Malibu’s timing looks good.
After toughing out the Great Recession, Malibu has seen its earnings rise in recent years as it has rolled out a number of new products. Malibu’s wakeboarding Surf Gate technology received its second patent last September.
Raymond James and Wells Fargo Securities are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and BMO Capital Markets are acting as co-managers.
Click here for  more on Malibu from Seeking Alpha.
Click here for a Wall Street Journal Marketwatch report on Malibu.

FTC approves Community Health-HMA merger

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Community Health Systems acquisition of Health Management Associates moved a step closer Wednesday with an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.
Under terms of the agreement, Community Health will divest itself of two hospitals owned by HMA —  Riverview Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Alabama, and Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center in Hartsville, S.C.
Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health said the divestitures would not have a “meaningful impact on the combined company’s financial operations or cost-savings.”
HMA, based in Naples, Fla., owns Tennova Healthcare, which operates six hospitals in the Knoxville region.
Community Health has agreed to buy HMA for $3.9 billion in cash and stock. The sale is expected to close at the end of January.
Click here for Community Health’s news release.

Regal’s Amy Miles named to Norfolk Southern board

Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group

Amy Miles, CEO of Regal Entertainment Group

Knoxville businesswoman Amy Miles, CEO of movie theater operator Regal Entertainment Group, is taking her business acumen to Norfolk Southern railroad.
Miles was one of two directors elected to the Norfolk Southern Corp. board effective Tuesday, the railroad  announced.
Miles, who has been CEO of Knoxville-based Regal since 2009, was appointed to the Norfolk Southern board’s audit and finance committees.
Like many executives, Miles serves on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards, including National CineMedia Inc., a digital in-theater media network, co-owned by Regal; the Regal Foundation, and Variety of Eastern Tennessee, a children’s charity.
She also is an executive board member of the National Association of Theater Owners.
Also elected to the Norfolk Southern board was James A. Squires, who was appointed president of Norfolk Southern last year.
Miles could not immediately be reached for comment on the railroad appointment.
Naming a movie theater executive to a railroad board may seem a stretch, but Norfolk Southern has a major presence in Knoxville.
Last year it opened a $5.9 million rail/truck transfer terminal on Tennessee Avenue giving companies that lack direct rail connections a way to access rail.
Knoxville also sits along the Crescent Corridor, Norfolk Southern’s 2,500-mile intermodal network that stretches from Louisiana to New York.
Regal is the largest movie theater operator in the country with 580 theaters in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, Saipan, American Samoa.