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Viacom Pulls Out of Bidding to Buy Scripps Networks

Viacom has withdrawn its interest in acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive, sources said.

The company had reportedly given Scripps Networks an all-cash offer worth $10.6 billion earlier this week.

Discovery Communications, which started the merger talks that seem to have put Scripps Networks in play, is still talking with Scripps.

For cable programmers like Discovery or Viacom, acquiring Scripps Networks with its strong brands led by HGTV and Food Network would create greater scale at a time when distributors are consolidating and consumers are seeking lower cost and skinnier bundles of channels.

But analysts say a combination of Discovery and Scripps would not address the industry’s main problems of declining ratings, slow ad revenue growth and subscribers shifting from pay TV to digital video.

News of Viacom’s withdrawal from the bidding for Scripps was earlier reported by Variety.