As The Edward W. Scripps Trust prepares to dissolve it has been loading up on cash. It has sold a chunk of its stock in Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI).
The board of directors of SNI approved a $1 billion stock buyback plan – and immediately bought back about $300 million of stock from the Trust, which was and is its controlling shareholder. The company agreed to buy back 6,430,027 Class A shares at $46.66 each. The method of calculation wasn’t mentioned, but the price was below the Wednesday (6/29) close of $49.07.
The announcement prompted a Wall Street Journal story that the deal killed the hopes of some SNI investors that a sale of the entire company was in the works. The cable networks/Internet company was seen as a prize for a larger media conglomerate.
Even after the sale the Trust is the largest shareholder of SNI, with approximately 26% of its publicly traded Class A shares and 93% of the controlling Common voting Shares, which are not publicly traded.
The Trust is also the controlling shareholder of The E.W. Scripps Company, which owns TV stations and newspapers.