E.W SCRIPPS' HEIR DIES; TRUST DISSOLVED.
When Robert P. Scripps was born in 1918, his grandfather controlled a vast network of more than 50 newspapers and soon, radio stations. When he died last week the business was down to 13 newspapers, 19 TV stations and a second company that owns one of the most popular cable-TV channels, Food Network.
Under the structure of the will that Edward Scripps left in place when he died in 1926, was a codicil that the trust that controlled Cincinnati's E.W. Scripps Co. (and later, Scripps Networks Inc. when it split from the main business in 2007) would dissolve upon the death of the last heir who was alive at the founder's passing.
Robert P. Scripps was that heir and The Scripps Co. on Thursday not only announced Bob Scripps' death but also the death of the trust.
In practice, the change over will probably be transparent: the family will continue to control almost 98 percent of the voting stock in the companies and will continue to run them. The one aspect that will change is that the old trust specifically required The Scripps Co. to be in the newspaper business and with it dissolved, that requirement has expired too.
"The impediment to restructure is basically gone," Edward Atorino, a media analyst for The Benchmark Co. in New York City told the Business Courier of Cincinnati. "The management would love to split the company up and be a broadcast company and get the stock up. I don't know if they'd do it right away. [But] they see the handwriting on the wall."
The chairwoman of The Scripps Co. board, Nackey Scagliotti, is not only a great-granddaughter of E.W. Scripps, she is also the daughter of William Loeb, the legendary publisher of the Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., and worked at the paper throughout her professional career. I've been surprised at how willing newspaper families are to sell titles, but I don't think Nackey will.