Scripps, NDTV call off deal
New Delhi Television terminates agreement to sell 69% stakeNEW DELHI -- Scripps Networks Inc. and New Delhi Television have terminated their agreement of last November, which would have allowed Scripps to acquire a 69% stake in NDTV's lifestyle programming subsidiary NDTV Lifestyle for $55 million.
In a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange Tuesday, NDTV said it was exercising its right to terminate the definitive agreements, which were to be concluded in the first quarter of 2010 when the deal was first announced.
When asked Wednesday as to why the deal was being called off, an NDTV spokesperson cited “confidentiality agreements” and declined to comment.
Scripps Networks owns the Food Network, Fine Living Network and country music network Great American Country among its bouquet of lifestyle channels.
NDTV Lifestyle runs the NDTV Good Times channel, launched in 2007, in association with Indian liquor baron and Force India Formula 1 racing team owner Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher beer and lifestyle brand, offering personality-driven programming and Internet content covering food, travel, fashion and style.
The NDTV-Scripps alliance had plans to launch other lifestyle channels when the agreement was first announced.
When the NDTV Lifestyle-Scripps deal was announced in November, Scripps had just bought a majority stake in Travel Channel for over $1 billion. Last October, India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board approved a proposal from Travel Channel International to set up a wholly-owned Indian subsidiary.
NDTV's other former foreign partners have included NBC Universal, which bought a 26% stake in NDTV's London-incorporated entertainment subsidiary NDTV Imagine holding company NDTV Networks Plc for $150 million in May 2008. But last October, NDTV bought back NBCU's stake for an undisclosed amount and in December 2009, Turner Asia Pacific Ventures reached an agreement with NDTV to acquire a 92% stake in NDTV Imagine for $126.5 million.