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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 15, 2011

Scripps Networks Interactive in Pact with Virgin Media for UKTV Transaction

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Scripps Networks Interactive, a provider of lifestyle-oriented content for TV and Internet, has announced its agreement with Virgin Media (News - Alert), a provider of broadband TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the U.K., to pick up Virgin Media’s stake in UKTV, a multi-channel TV programming company, for £339 million.

The consideration for the deal will include approximately £239 million ($392 million) to buy Virgin Media’s 50 percent stake in UKTV and another £100 million ($164 million) to acquire the outstanding stock and debt owed by UKTV to Virgin Media. BBC Worldwide holds the remaining 50 percent stake in UKTV.

“UKTV is a significant opportunity for Scripps Networks Interactive to participate in a thriving multi-channel, dual revenue stream media business in one of the world’s largest television markets,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Scripps Networks Interactive, in a statement.

BBC Worldwide is also negotiating with Scripps Networks Interactive to increase its shareholding from 50 percent to a maximum 60 percent via a combination of cash and a package of digital rights for UKTV.

“The launch of UKTV created a new secondary platform for content from the BBC and U.K. independents that has delivered great value back to all stakeholders,” said John Smith, chief executive, BBC Worldwide. “We thank Virgin Media for the part it has played in developing the business into one of the most successful pay TV companies in the U.K.”

UKTV attracts 36 million viewers a month across its portfolio of 10 lifestyle, entertainment and non-fiction programming channels.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive,” said Neil Berkett, chief executive officer, Virgin Media. “This will allow us to continue to focus on providing a transformative experience for our customers by developing our core strategic strength.”

Recently, Scripps Networks Interactive announced its net income for the quarter decreased 27 percent to $77.4 million, or 46 cents per share, from $106.2 million, or 63 cents per share in the same period last year. Revenue for the quarter increased 12 percent to $534 million.

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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf