Taking a page out of the Belo book, Scripps (SSP) management has decided to dump the company’s crappy businesses in a separate publicly-traded vehicle and zoom off on the interactive ones. This smacks of financial engineering, but it’s actually not a bad idea. For now, anyway, the currency created by the Interactive businesses should enable the company to be more aggressive about acquisitions and hiring (options).
The E. W. Scripps Company’s board of directors has unanimously authorised management to pursue a plan to separate Scripps into two publicly traded companies, one focused on creating national lifestyle media brands and the other on building market- leading local media franchises. The two companies that would exist after the separation would be:
- Scripps Networks Interactive, which would consist of the national lifestyle media brands and associated enterprises that operate collectively as Scripps Networks, including television’s HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, the Fine Living Television Network and Great American Country and their category-leading Internet businesses. The new company also would include online comparison shopping services Shopzilla and uSwitch and their associated Web sites. These businesses have combined annual revenue of approximately $1.4 billion and 2,100 employees.
- The E. W. Scripps Company, which would include daily and community newspapers in 17 U.S. markets; 10 broadcast television stations clustered among the nation’s largest 50 markets, including six ABC affiliates, three NBC affiliates and one independent station; the character licensing and feature syndication businesses operated by United Media; and Scripps Media centre in Washington D.C., which includes the Scripps Howard News Service. These businesses have combined annual revenue of about $1.1 billion and employ about 7,100 people.