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Murdoch bids for Travel Channel

Murdoch bids for Travel Channel

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is leading the auction for the Travel Channel.  There are three rivals fighting to acquire the 65% controlling stake from Cox Communications but Chase Carey, the News Corp CEO says the company would be “uniquely capable” of developing the product.

Cox Communications is likely to make a decision within two weeks, according to people familiar with the discussions. Rival bids are the Food Network owner Scripps Networks and a consortium led by Providence Equity Partners and a bidding war is possible.

News Corp has so far shown a more aggressive strategy and analysts had predicted the network would only fetch $600m-$700m. News Corp believes they can exploit its potential for international expansion.

The News Corp offer would be made through its National Geographic Channel, in which the National Geographic Society holds a stake. Discovery Communications, though not a bidder, has been talking to Providence about retaining the advertising sales and affiliate sales contract it has with Cox for the Travel Channel. A successful bid by National Geographic could threaten that contract.

Launched in February of 1987, the Travel Channel is the only television network devoted exclusively to travel entertainment.