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Shop at Home to Jewelry Box?

6/12/2006 8:50 AM Eastern

Jewelry Television is finalizing a deal to purchase some assets of Shop at Home, the home-shopping network that The E.W. Scripps Co. is pulling the plug on June 22, officials from both channels confirmed Monday.

Jewelry, based in Knoxville, Tenn., is most interested in Shop at Home assets such as satellite-uplink facilities, computer systems and Internet platforms. Nashville, Tenn.-based Shop at Home also owns TV stations with four broadcast studios that Jewelry is interested in as locations for promotional-video production.

The negotiations between Jewelry and Scripps were first reported by the local press in Knoxville. A final deal is reportedly imminent, with Jewelry saying it had already agreed to purchase the assets.

“It will be business as usual at Jewelry Television," chief operating officer Joe Fields said in a prepared statement. "We have no plans to move staff to Nashville or interrupt Jewelry Television operations in any way. The acquisition of Shop at Home’s assets simply fits our growth strategy.”

Scripps spokesman Tim Stautberg said Monday that his company was finalizing an agreement to sell “certain assets” to Jewelry.

Scripps -- which acquired Shop at Home in two transactions valued at $285 million -- had hoped to use the electronic retailing service in part, to sell products related to its cable networks, such as Food Network and Home & Garden Television.

But Shop at Home never secured adequate distribution to maximize that goal or to profitably push the sale of other merchandise on the channel. So Scripps put the network on the block, but the company said in May that it could not find a buyer and it was closing down the network.

Shop at Home lost $84 million during the past four years, according to Scripps.

National Jeweler magazine just released its “$100 Million Superseller” issue and Jewelry moved up five places from the No. 20 retailer of fine jewelry in the country to No. 15.

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