Scripps Networks buys Travel Channel International

Published Mar 23 2012, 12:58 GMT  |  By

Food Tripper

© Travel Channel

Scripps Networks Interactive, the US broadcaster which owns a 50% stake in UKTV, has announced the acquisition of Travel Channel international (TCI).

Scripps will pay £65 million to acquire TCI, and the transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012, pending regulatory approval.

Travel Channel's international business was spun off in 2004 as part of a management buyout. The broadcaster currently beams content to 91 countries in 20 languages, including shows such as Food Tripper and World's Greatest Motorcycle Rides.

The company has affiliate deals with around 850 TV distributors and employs 46 full-time staff in London. They will all join Scripps after completion of the transaction.

Earlier in the week, Travel Channel International was rapped by media regulator Ofcom following an investigation into previous 'serious wrongdoing' in premium rate phone-in competitions on its UK television channel.

Richard Wolfe, the chief executive of TCI, said that Scripps is the "natural home" for the UK-based broadcaster.

He said: "Combining TCI's reach and resources in our territories with those of SNI's US Travel Channel creates a new worldwide brand with powerful synergies in programming and advertising."

Scripps president and chief executive Kenneth W Lowe added: "We are looking forward to integrating Travel Channel International into Scripps Networks Interactive's portfolio of popular lifestyle networks.

"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."

The deal for TCI marks the latest step in Scripps Network Interactive's expansion into the UK, following a £339m deal last year with Virgin Media for a 50% stake in UKTV, the pay-TV operator of channels such as Gold, Watch and Dave. Scripps is the joint venture partner in UKTV with BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm.

Acquiring TCI will also add to Scripps's existing lifestyle channels in Britain, after the firm introduced The Food Network in 2009 to Sky and Freesat as a collaboration with Chello Zone. The channel has since launched on digital terrestrial platform Freeview.