Discovery buys Scripps Networks for $14.6 bn

Washington (AFP) –


Discovery Communications announced Monday it was buying television rival Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion, a deal that will give it Food Network, Travel Channel and other channels in global markets.

The deal will unite the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Eurosport and others operated by Maryland-based Discovery Communications with the operations of Scripps, which include HGTV, DIY Network and Great American Country.

Scripps also operates Poland-based TVN; UKTV, a joint venture with BBC Worldwide; and Asian Food Channel.

Discovery's president and chief executive David Zaslav said the deal will create a "more dynamic media company with a global content engine that can be fully optimized and monetized across our combined networks, products and services in every country around the world."

In the US, the combined firm will serve nearly 20 percent of ad-supported pay-TV audiences, according to a joint statement.

Scripps chairman and CEO Kenneth Lowe said the deal is "an unmatched opportunity for Scripps to grow its leading lifestyle brands across the world and on new and emerging channels including short-form, direct-to-consumer and streaming platforms."

The companies said they expect the deal to result in cost savings of some $350 million and open the door to global expansion.

The agreement to buy Scripps at $90 per share is a 34 percent premium above the July 18 closing price of the Tennessee-based company. It is expected to close in early 2018.

The cash-stock transaction will give Discovery shareholders 80 percent of the new company with the remaining 20 percent owned by holders of Scripps.