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Scripps in the frame for UKTV acquisition

US channel group Scripps Network Interactive is close to acquiring Virgin Media’s 50% stake in British thematic channel operator UKTV.

The company, which operates a raft of US cable networks including the Food Network and the Travel Channel, is expected to pay around £350 million (€400 million) for the stake. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster, owns the remaining 50% stake in UKTV, which operates channels including Dave, Yesterday, Really and Good Food.

Two potential barriers to a sale – a recent advertising sales deal between UKTV and Channel 4, and problems over video-on-demand rights to BBC Worldwide content – have reportedly been surmounted.