Private equity firms still have some cash and at least three of them are reported to be bidding on the Travel Channel, which Cox Enterprises hopes to sell for $600 million-plus. Former owner Discovery Communications could even end up with a role in running the cable channel.
Cox has never actually said publicly that the cable channel is for sale, but it’s been well known for a couple of months. It was, therefore, the subject of quite a bit of speculation and talk at this week’s Goldman Sachs media conference in New York.
According to a Bloomberg report, three of the big name private equity firms are all in the running to buy the Travel Channel: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; Thomas H. Lee Partners; and Providence Equity. In other works, everyone you would expect to be bidding on a media deal, with the exception of Bain Capital.
But they aren’t the only potential buyers. Scripps Networks Interactive CFO Joe NeCastro told the Goldman Sachs gathering that his company is interested. And Discovery CEO David Zaslav said his company is in talks with one of the bidders to provide management and advertising sales services if they win the bidding. He did not, of course, disclose which bidder his company is working with. But he did make it clear that Discovery will not be an equity buyer itself.