Outdoor Channel Explores Options


With one outdoor-related cable channel having been sold and ESPN thinking about launching another, the principal owner of The Outdoor Channel has hired Bear Stearns & Co. to help weigh options.

Global Outdoors Inc., which owns 84 percent of The Outdoor Channel, said
Thursday it wants to look at bringing in strategic partners or finding 'other
strategic alternatives.'

'Although the Company is cash flow positive, the right strategic partner(s)
could significantly increase our penetration of the multichannel subscriber
universe,' Global Outdoors CEO Perry Massie said in a press release.

He said Outdoor Channel's reach grew by about 5 million homes in the last 12
months, to about 11 million cable and satellite homes.

In May, Comcast Corp., which owned a minority slice of Outdoor Life Network,
agreed to buy out the other owners as part of a complex deal that also involved
Fox Cable Networks Group buying control of Speedvision.

Analysts at the time estimated Outdoor Life Network's value at anywhere from
$500 to $650 million. Outdoor Life has about 35 million subscribers, more than
double Outdoor Channel's base.

In April, sports powerhouse ESPN said it was considering launching an
outdoor-oriented channel, building on the ESPN Outdoors block that runs on ESPN2
on the weekend.