Discovery, Scripps Networks end merger talks: WSJ

Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:13am EST

The Discovery Communications headquarters building is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland December 3, 2009. REUTERS/Brad Bower

The Discovery Communications headquarters building is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland December 3, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brad Bower

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(Reuters) - Discovery Communications Inc and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc abandoned talks for a merger last week, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting people familiar with the matter.

The discussions did not go beyond the early, exploratory stage and Discovery had not made a formal offer for Scripps, the newspaper reported. (link.reuters.com/zez85v)

A report in Variety had said in December that Discovery was considering a bid for Scripps, home to the Food Network and HGTV.

The Scripps family did not appear ready to sell the cable company, Wall Street Journal said.

The family had a 43 percent stake in Scripps Networks and newspaper company E.W. Scripps through a trust which ceased to exist in 2012, after which the shares were redistributed to descendants.

The merger talks did not get far enough to consider terms or a price, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Discovery will refocus on overseas expansion, which had been its focus before the talks with Scripps, the Journal said.

Discovery and Scripps were not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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