E.W. Scripps Pulls Plug on Shop At Home

May 16, 2006  •  Post A Comment

E.W. Scripps is shutting down the Shop At Home cable network in June after failing to find a buyer for the money-losing venture.

The Shop At Home Channel, which competed with QVC and HSN, and a companion Web site will shut down June 22, Scripps said Tuesday in a statement. The business will keep operating through June 30 to fulfill final orders from customers.

The decision by Scripps to shutter Shop At Home caps a years-long struggle by the company to find the right strategy for the home-shopping channel. Despite a track record of successful channel launches such as HGTV and DIY-Do It Yourself, Scripps never had much success with Shop At Home, acquired initially as a way to sell products featured on Scripps’ other cable channels.

As part of the shutdown, Scripps said it expects to book an after-tax loss of up to $60 million in the second quarter, reflecting operating results, expenses related to closing the business and a partial write-down of the channel’s assets. The company’s five Shop At Home-affiliated television stations will be sold.

Scripps acquired Shop At Home in two transactions that date back to 2002 and totaled around $285 million. The first deal in October 2002 involved buying a controlling interest in the network, followed by a second transaction in April 2004 involving the rest of the network and the five TV stations.

During the four-year period that Scripps has controlled Shop At Home, the channel has lost around $84 million. That prompted Scripps’ board earlier this year to explore a sale of the channel.