Discovery, Scripps end takeover talks

Discovery Communications and Scripps have reportedly abandoned merger talks without getting beyond an “early, exploratory stage”.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites people familiar with the matter, talks between the two companies have closed, ending the possibility that Discovery will acquire its factual channel rival.

The report claims that Discovery did not make a formal effort for Scripps and that Scripps’ owners appeared unready to sell the business – though added it was unclear why the takeover talks ended.

The news follows a Variety report from last month claiming that Discovery was considering making a bid for Scripps Networks Interactive – news that sent Scripps’ share price up by almost 15% in after-hours trading.

Scripps’ channel portfolio includes the lifestyle brands HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel.

Earlier this year, Discovery bought SBS’s business in Scandinavia for US$1.7 billion (€1.25 billion), launching SBS Discovery Media. It also paid €170 million to buy into TF1 channels Eurosport, Histoire, TV Breizh, Ushuaïa TV and Stylia and recently indicated it was planning to speed up plans to take a controlling stake in Eurosport.

Discovery reportedly made a previous approach for Scripps some three years ago, but was then also unable to negotiate a takeover.