Report of Merger Talks Prompts Surge in Two Media Firms' Stock Prices

Technology and health care lift stocks to record highs

(SNI) are in talks to combine, the Wall Street Journal is reporting according to sources familiar with the matter, reviving talks of a merger between the two that fizzled in 2013. Discovery, which has around US$ 15 billion market value, telecasts a channel by the same name, as well as others such as Animal Planet and TLC, the WSJ added.

Terms of a potential deal couldn't be learned, the newspaper added.

By combining, Scripps and Discovery or Viacom could also strengthen their hand in negotiations with pay-TV companies like Comcast Corp. Currently, Discovery is rated an investment grade (barely) BBB- with a stable outlook by S&P, which notes the company's significant global presence and above-average domestic margins, as well as pressure from rising programming costs and shifts in the cable market.

Not for the first time, but once again, Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive are talking about merging their broadcasting assets. "It's really not a skinny bundle - it's a bundle". Discovery shares rose 7.9 per cent in late trading.

Controversial plan proposed by pro-Russian rebel leader in east Ukraine
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russian Federation of forcing the rebels to make the announcement. Zakharchenko said that the proposal is, in his words, "a peaceful way out of a hard situation without war".

Discovery did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

Scripps, whose channels include HGTV, Travel Channel and a majority stake in Food Network, is looking for a buyer at a time when it and other smaller media companies are under pressure to grow to give them negotiating power with cable and satellite companies.

Hulu and YouTube left Discovery's networks out of their new services, and YouTube also didn't include programming from Scripps.

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