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Scripps to ‘meet BBC Trust chair over UKTV’

UKTVScripps Networks Interactive will meet directly with the chair of the BBC Trust in an effort to advance its efforts to take control of channels group UKTV, according to a report in the Guardian.

US pay TV operator Scripps bought into UKTV in 2011, when it paid Virgin Media £339 million (US$500 million) for a 50% stake with the remainder owned by BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC.

Last year, again according to the Guardian, the US company offered up to £500 million to buy Worldwide out of the UKTV, which operates eleven digital channels including Dave, Watch, Gold, Alibi, Yesterday, Drama, Really and Home.

The UK newspaper said that SNI will meet with under-fire BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead in the next couple of weeks and seek to persuade her of the benefits of its bid to buy the BBC out of UKTV. Fairhead has come under huge criticism for her role as a non-executive director of the HSBC bank, which is accused of aiding widespread tax avoidance through a subsidiary in Switzerland.

BBC Worldwide has resisted Scripps’ attempts to take full control of UKTV, as it is believed to see a strong future for the growing channels group and does not see the financial sense in selling.

However, it would be beholden to any decision from the BBC Trust should it seek to become directly involved in the mooted takeover.

SNI did not respond to a request for comment.