Done Deal: Scripps to Acquire Travel Channel

Joint venture with Cox Communications gives Scripps 65% stake.

Scripps Networks announced on Thursday that it has entered an agreement with Cox Communications to acquire a controlling interest in the Travel Channel.

Cincinnati-based Scripps, which owns the Food Network and HGTV, will get a 65 stake, with Cox retaining 35 percent. Cox had been searching for a buyer for the Travel Channel since June.

News Corp. was said to be an aggressive suitor for the Travel Channel, but Scripps ultimately outbid Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate.

The financials are as follows: Cox will contribute the Travel Channel, valued at $975 million, and Scripps will ante up $181 million in cash. The partnership will take on $878 million in guaranteed debt, the companies said. Overall, it includes $696 million in net debt.

The deal is expected to be completed by January.

“Combining the Travel Channel with Food Network and HGTV will make our fast-growing, young company the undisputed global leader in lifestyle programming,” Scripps chairman Ken Lowe said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “Our vision for Travel follows the same script that’s made Food Network and HGTV two of the most powerful brands in all of television.”

The Travel Channel reaches about 95 million U.S. television households, the company said.