The conversations never became serious. Still, Scripps Networks shares are down 7.2% with heavy volume today after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company and Discovery Communications have “abandoned” the preliminary discussions. The fall brings Scripps’ stock price roughly back to where it was in early December, before Variety reported that Discovery was “mulling” an offer. The family that controls Scripps “didn’t appear ready to sell,” the Journal reports. The paper adds that representatives for the companies never got to the point of discussing a possible price. That jibes with what I was hearing: Discovery has its sights set on expanding overseas, but — like just about every major company — considers just about any opportunity. Scripps’ lifestyle programming could complement Discovery’s, and everyone’s weighing M&A at a time when interest rates are so low. Scripps’ market value is down about $856M today in late trading to about $11.1B. Discovery shares are down about 3.1% for a market value of about $19.8B.
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