According to the latest reports News Corp and Scripps Networks are both bidding enthusiastically for the US-based service the Travel Channel with intense activity going on ‘behind the scenes’.
Cox Communications of Atlanta owns the Travel Channel, and bids are currently at around the US$800m mark and Cox may be about to select one party for exclusive negotiations. None of the companies involved are prepared to comment on the latest round of offers, the scale of which has surprised many observers.
The offers exceed the $600 million to $700 million that Travel Channel Media was estimated to be worth after Cox said in June that it had received unsolicited inquiries for the unit. Cox, the third-largest U.S. cable company then hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to evaluate its options.
Chase Carey, News Corp’s COO, has said that Travel Channel would made a sensible fit alongside its Nat-Geo channels.
News Corp feels it is well placed to develop the channel into a global franchise and would hope to double profit from any acquisition in less than five years.
Travel Channel Media includes the Travel Channel, currently distributed in 94 million U.S. homes, and the travelchannel.com Web site.