Discovery Communications, Inc. has inked a deal to acquire Great American Country parent company Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $14.6 billion. The transaction is expected to close by early 2018.
Scripps Chairman, President and CEO Kenneth Lowe is expected to join Discovery’s board of directors following the close of the transaction.
Discovery and Scripps combined company will produce an estimated 8,000 hours of original programming each year, and will be home to 300,000 hours of library content. Combined Discovery and Scripps will hold a nearly 20 percent share of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the U.S.
The combined company’s portfolio of brands will include Discovery Channel, HGTV, Great American Country, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, and more.
The deal’s $90 per-share cost, based on Discovery’s Friday closing price, represents a premium of 34 percent to Scripps’ unaffected share price as of Tuesday, July 18, before deal talks were first reported. Discovery is paying $63 per share in cash and $27 per share in stock. Scripps shareholders will own 20 percent of Discovery, which will also take on Scripps’ net debt of approximately $2.7 billion in the deal.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Discovery. Scripps is one of the best run media companies in the world with terrific assets, strong brands and popular talent and formats. Our business is about great storytelling, authentic characters and passionate super fans. We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and 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,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.
“Through the passion and dedication of our incredible employees, and with the support of the Scripps family, we have built a lifestyle content company that touches the lives of consumers every single day,” said Lowe. “This agreement with Discovery presents 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.”
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