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Bids for Travel Channel, in the middle of a bidding process started by its parent Cox, have come in “substantially ahead of initial expectations,” according to FT, citing sources. The bids indicate that the channel could be valued at $800 million or more, higher than the $600 milion – $700 million as expected by analysts. My source said last month that Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), considered a favorite, emerged as the leading bidder in first round bids, and FT reports that the company is on to the second round.
Others through to the second round include News Corp (NYSE: NWS). bidding through majority-owned National Geographic Channel, and from three PE groups, it says. These PE groups have been talking to Discovery, to work out an affiliate and ad sales deal; Cox acquired the Travel Channel along with $1.275 billion in cash in exchange for its 25 percent stake in Discovery. Cox is selling a majority stake in the network, holding back 30-35 percent for tax purposes.