UPDATE (12:11 p.m. ET): CNBC’s David Faber has reported that “It’s gonna be a deal… Certainly, one would expect by Monday morning you’ll have Discovery announcing its acquisition of Scripps.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that while Discovery and Scripps are in the “final stages” of talks and that an announcement could come next week, “talks could still fall apart.” A Discovery spokesperson declined to comment.
Another day, another reported development in the ongoing Scripps Networks Interactive acquisition saga.
Following the news on Tuesday (July 25) that Viacom was willing to offer an all-cash bid for the Knoxville-based network group, Wednesday saw another report from Reuters, again citing “people familiar with the matter,” claiming that Silver Spring-headquartered Discovery has entered into exclusive talks to acquire the parent company of such brands as Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel.
According to various reports, Discovery’s cash-and-stock offer won out over Viacom’s bid. While earlier reports stated that Discovery was not prepared to offer an all-cash bid, the offer from the parent company of nets including Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet is said to be mostly cash.
Still, with this being the third round of tie-up talks between Discovery and Scripps in recent years, there is no guarantee that a deal will be reached this time.
With Scripps’ market value ascending to close to US$11 billion following news of this recent bout of talks, the Wall Street Journal reports that Viacom — already some $12 billion in debt and facing a potential downgrade to “junk” status if it went forward with a pricey all-cash bid — didn’t want to overpay for the acquisition.