Discovery buys rival Scripps Networks for $14.6 billion

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Published 31.07.2017 17:34
Updated 31.07.2017 17:37
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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 will produce approximately 8,000 hours of original programming each year, and possess 300,000 hours of library content. They have the potential to generate 7 billion short-form video streams monthly, according to Discovery.

The transaction is valued at $90 per share, about a 4 percent premium to Scripps' Friday closing price of $86.91. The per-share price includes $63 per share in cash and $27 per share in Discovery's Class C shares. The transaction also includes approximately $2.7 billion in Scripps' debt.

The companies said Monday that they expect about $350 million in cost savings.

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

Shares of Discovery Communications Inc., based in Silver Spring, Maryland, rose 2.6 percent before the market opened. Shares of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., based in Knoxville, Tennessee, edged up slightly.

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