travel.jpgThere haven’t been too many media deals recently, so today’s announcement is exciting. Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., which currently owns the lifestyle cable channels Food Network and HGTV, announced today that it has entered into a joint venture with Cox Communications that will result in Scripps owning a controlling interest in the Travel Channel — valued at $975 million.

The transaction, which is expected to close in January, will leave Cox with a 35 percent stake in the Travel Channel, while Scipps will own 65 percent. Scripps is paying $181 million in cash and the partnership between Scripps and Cox will take on $878 million in third-party debt, the companies said.

“Adding the Travel Channel, and its related enterprises, provides us with a unique opportunity to meaningfully expand our portfolio into a lifestyle category that’s highly desirable to media consumers, advertisers and programming distributors,” said Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe, in a statement on the deal. “Our vision for Travel follows the same script that’s made Food Network and HGTV two of the most powerful brands in all of television. By lending our unparalleled expertise in developing successful lifestyle media businesses, we have every confidence that we can build on Travel’s strong brand identity and leverage the successes achieved to date by the top-notch team at Travel Channel and our new partners at Cox Communications.”

Full release after the jump

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