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Discovery in Talks to Combine With Scripps Networks: Report

Discovery Communications is in talks to combine with Scripps Networks Interactive, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Terms of the potential deal couldn’t be learned by the paper, which added that another bidder for Scripps could emerge.

The report come amid difficult times in the cable TV business as more consumers drop their pay TV subscriptions and watch digital video instead.

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Discovery and Scripps both own mainly non-fiction cable channels and do not have ties to the broadcast networks or sports franchises that would make them must-haves as programming bundles get skinnier.

The TV business has been consolidating on the distribution side with Charter Communications acquiring larger cable company Time Warner Cable. Meanwhile programmer Time Warner is in the process of being acquired by AT&T, which also owns DirecTV.

Discovery and Scripps Networks discussed a possible merger in 2014 but the family that controls the company wasn’t ready to sell.

One of Discovery’s biggest shareholders is cable dealmakers John Malone, who last year talked about consolidation on the programming side of the business. In addition to Discovery, Malone holds stakes in Starz and Lionsgate.