Discovery Communications has agreed with France’s TF1 Group to raise its stake in pan-European sports network Eurosport International from 20% to 51%, in a deal that values the international sports networks business at about $1.2 billion.
Discovery secured its initial stake for $222 million in December 2012, with an option to take a controlling stake in Eurosport in late 2014, however the companies have now accelerated the agreement.
Under the terms of the new deal, TF1 – which was the previous largest stakeholder – will retain its 80% stake in Eurosport France until at least 1st January 2015.
The deal is expected to close in the coming months, while TF1 will retain a put option to sell the remaining 49% in Eurosport International to Discovery.
‘Eurosport is one of the strongest, most dynamic sports platforms in the world,’ said Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav (pictured above). ‘Over the past year, as we have been working directly with our partners from TF1, it became clear that combining the power of Eurosport’s brands and audience reach with Discovery’s network portfolio, boots on the ground and country-specific expertise creates an unrivaled and powerful offering for viewers, advertisers and affiliates.’
‘Today’s announcement underscores Discovery’s strategy to support already strong organic growth with targeted acquisitions and partnerships. This deal will enable our industry-leading international team and its new leader, JB Perrette, to create new value for our business partners by developing and sharing programming across channel brands and building a stronger and more diversified network portfolio.’
‘With its successful track record of investing in quality content and building global brands, Discovery Communications is perfectly positioned to further expand and increase the value of Eurosport,’ added Nonce Paolini, Chairman and CEO of TF1.
‘Eurosport’s vast sports platform coupled with Discovery’s extensive network portfolio will entertain and engage audiences and generate additional revenue streams for our business associates and distribution partners globally.’
Discovery was one of the first U.S. media companies to launch channels in Europe in 1989 and has invested steadily and significantly in its international business for 25 years.
According to the official release, the combined reach of Discovery Communications, Eurosport and the 2013 acquisition of SBS Nordics will be 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers across nearly 200 networks spanning more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
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