Scripps Plans Split, Plots Expansion

After the split, the two publicly traded companies would be called “Scripps Networks Interactive” (including its high-profile HGTV and Food Network properties) and the “E.W. Scripps Company,” which retain the corporation’s daily and community newspapers in 17 U.S. markets and its 10 broadcast television stations.
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Scripps is splitting its national cable and Web properties (what it calls its “lifestyle” brands) from its local old-media businesses, and the Cincinnati-based corporation is looking toward fresh expansion on both fronts.

After the split, the two publicly traded companies would be called “Scripps Networks Interactive” (including its high-profile HGTV and Food Network properties) and the “E.W. Scripps Company,” which retain the corporation’s daily and community newspapers in 17 U.S. markets and its 10 broadcast television stations.

Corporate officers said the deal would allow both companies to grow and profit more effectively than they could together, with little or no disruption to operations and employees.

“We think that both companies are poised for growth in their respective areas,” said spokesman Tim Stautberg.

Among other possibilities, company officers discussed their hope of acquiring the remainder of the Food Network it does not already own. They also said they would like to increase the footprint of local markets and invest in improved programming.

Scripps Network Interactive owns additional cable properties DIY Network, the Fine Living Television Network and Great American Country, which, along with their Internet operations, have a combined annual revenue of about $1.4 billion and 2,100 employees.

E.W. Scripps Co. also owns United Media (the boss of Snoopy and Dilbert, among others) and the Scripps Howard News Service, for total annual revenue of $1.1 billion and about 7,100 employees.

After the split, Corporation President and CEO Kenneth Lowe is expected to keep that title at Scripps Networks Interactive, while Richard A. Boehne, currently executive vice president and chief operating officer, is expected to take the reins at E.W. Scripps Co.