Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (SNI) Up on Discovery Merger Buzz

The Discovery Communications logo is shown on the exhibit floor during the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Cable Show in Washington

Discovery Communications is in talks to merge with Scripps Networks Interactive, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal.

Following trading activity for Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc.(NYSE:SNI), we can see that the stock has moved onto today's list of most actives.

According to Zacks, "Shares of Scripps Networks have underperformed the Zacks-categorized Broadcasting-Radio TV industry over the past one year".

Discovery's stock is up more than 9 percent in after-hours trading, while shares of Scripps have risen more than 10 percent. Discovery now has a market capitalisation of around US$15 billion, and Scripps is worth around US$8.8 billion. Global operations for Scripps include multi-channel operator TVN in Poland; UKTV, a joint partnership with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel and Fine Living Network.

Meanwhile, Discovery's worldwide foothold could benefit Scripps' brands in territories where the latter company hasn't yet fully penetrated the market.

What's more, none of three companies air live sports in the USA, widely considered to be one of the last key draws for large television audiences that drive advertising. Scripps has been considered a buyout target in the past by Viacom to add to its massive network. The company reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters' consensus estimate of $1.18 by $0.35.

New York-based Viacom, with sales of $12.9 billion, is the largest of the three, but is coping with recurring losses at its Paramount Pictures film studio, high debt and viewership declines at some of its youth-oriented channels, including MTV. Thomas White Limited reported 8,544 shares. On Thursday, July 6 the stock rating was maintained by Cantor Fitzgerald with "Buy". After a recent spot-check, the stock has touched $9.91 which represents a change from the open of 4.37%.

The report come amid hard times in the cable TV business as more consumers drop their pay TV subscriptions and watch digital video instead. It has launched new cable channels around the world which are heavily focused on food, lifestyle and travel.

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