Discovery to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 bn
Discovery Communications, Inc. and Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. Have announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for Discovery to acquire Scripps in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at $14.6 billion, or $90 per share, based on Discovery’s Friday, July 21 closing price. The purchase price represents a premium of 34 per cent to Scripps’ unaffected share price as of Tuesday, July 18, 2017. The transaction is expected to close by early 2018.
“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 optimised and monetised 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 Kenneth W. Lowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Scripps Networks Interactive. “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.” Lowe is expected to join Discovery’s board of directors following the close of the transaction.
New Innovator Across a Broad Portfolio of Entertainment Assets
Together, Discovery and Scripps will offer a complementary and dynamic suite of brands. The combined company will produce approximately 8,000 hours of original programming annually, be home to approximately 300,000 hours of library content, and will generate a combined 7 billion short-form video streams monthly, demonstrating its commitment to delivering content as a top short-form provider.
Combined, Discovery and Scripps will have nearly 20 per cent share of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the US. Additionally, the combined company will be home to five of the top pay-TV networks for women and will account for over 20 per cent share of women watching primetime pay-TV in the US.
The Combined Portfolio’s Brands Will Include:
Discovery: Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN in the US, Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe.
Scripps: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country, as well as TVN, a premiere multi-platform provider of entertainment, lifestyle and news content in Poland; UKTV, an independent commercial joint venture with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel, the first pan- regional TV food network in Asia; and lifestyle channel Fine Living Network.
International Growth Opportunities
The combination will extend Scripps’ brands, programming and talent to a broader international audience through Discovery’s best-in-class global distribution, sales and languaging infrastructure. Discovery sees strong opportunities to strengthen its existing global female networks with select content from Food Network, HGTV and all the Scripps brands. Scripps also has a strong position in key international growth markets, including the UK and Poland, and will help fuel Discovery’s existing content pipeline in growth areas like Discovery’s Home and Health network in Latin America.
Social, Mobile and Non-linear Growth Opportunities
The combined company will deliver 7 billion monthly short-form streams, bringing together Scripps’ established expertise in short-form video creation with Discovery’s investment in Group Nine Media to create a new scale player with a strong ability to compete for audiences and ad dollars. The combination will give Discovery an outstanding presence on new video and social media platforms. Additionally, Scripps Lifestyle Studios will become a key component of Discovery’s content engine, making the company a leader in key strategic areas such as data-driven ad sales, endemic advertising, and branded entertainment solutions.
Discovery’s added scale, content engine and multiple brand offerings will present a compelling opportunity for new digital distribution partners, including mobile, OTT, and direct-to-consumer platforms and offerings.
The combination is expected to create significant cost synergies, estimated at approximately $350 million. The deal is expected to be accretive to Adjusted Earnings per Share and to Free Cash Flow in the first year after close.