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Scripps buys Travel Channel Int’l

Scripps Networks Interactive will pay £65m (US$102.7m) to acquire Travel Channel International Limited (TCI), the UK-based distributor of the Travel Channel brand across EMEA and Asia Pacific.

Scripps already operates the US Travel Channel and will now integrate the international version, previously independently owned, into its line-up. The deal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2012 pending regulatory approval.

TCI commissions and produces travel programming in 20 languages for distribution in 91 territories. All 46 full-time employees of the London-based company will join Scripps on completion of the deal, the pair said in a statement today.

Kenneth W Lowe, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps, said: “TCI brings unique value to us as we establish our brands in the global media marketplace.

“We’re enthusiastic about sharing our lifestyle programming expertise internationally, engaging a new set of passionate media consumers overseas, and increasing our footprint in Europe and Asia, building on the solid foundation we’ve established for the continued international growth of our brands.”

Richard Wolfe, CEO of TCI, said: “Combining TCI’s reach and resources in our territories with those of Scripps’ US Travel Channel creates a new worldwide brand with powerful synergies in programming and advertising.”

Knoxville-based Scripps has been circling TCI for some time, eager to get its hands on an international travel brand that will complement other networks in its stable that it’s also pushing globally – in particular Food Network.

Last year, Scripps took another major stake in the UK broadcast space, buying out Virgin Media’s 50% stake in UKTV – a business whose channel bouquet includes Good Food, Dave, Really, Yesterday, Alibi and Watch – in a deal worth £340m.

Scripps last month described Travel Channel as its “biggest growth opportunity” and pledged to increase investment in the US network in a bid to arrest falling ratings.

Earlier this week, TCI was rapped by UK media regulator Ofcom for the way it has been running on-air competitions and warned the channel to expect a “significant sanction” if it didn’t address these issues.

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