Scripps had earlier decided Discovery's bid was superior to that of Viacom's, the sources said. Discovery, operator of the TLC and Animal Planet channels, entered exclusive negotiations with Scripps to finalize a deal in the next few days, the sources said.
Scripps operates lifestyle channels such as HGTV and Food Network. At $90 a share, the deal would be roughly $11.7 billion based on Scripps' share count. Earlier, sources told CNBC that the family behind Scripps was looking for at least 50 percent cash in the deal.
Scripps shares jumped 2.8 percent on Thursday, while Discovery shares are down 2 percent and Viacom shares are up 4 percent.