At least a half dozen Big Media players with deep pockets are expected to bid up to $1 billion for the Travel Channel at a time when niche cable networks are among the industrys most choice assets.
Time Warner, Liberty Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, NBC Universal and Comcast could participate in a Travel Channel auction conducted by Goldman Sachs within a week now that Cox Communications has decided to sell the operation.
Stand-alone cable networks owned by conglomerates or pure players such as Discovery Communications generally have been valued by analysts at about 12 times projected 2010 earnings. Some estimate the Travel Channel could command between $700 million and $800 million. In 2007, Cox acquired the Travel Channel and $1.25 billion in cash in exchange for its 25 percent stake in Discovery. At the time, the Travel Channel was valued at between $800 million and $1.1 billion. Privately-held Cox said it is using advisers to determine the best options for the channel. More…