Cabler invests $10 mil in animal Web

Animal Planet is about to get a little Web buddy: The cable channel’s parent Discovery Communications Inc. said Wednesday it has invested north of $10 million in Petstore.com, a site for pet products and expert advice.

Through the deal, Discovery Communications becomes the largest shareholder in Emeryville-based Petstore.com, as the company completes its second round of funding totaling $97 million.

The investment also gives AnimalPlanet.com an e-commerce partner, while both sites will share editorial content.

DCI will help promote and brand Petstore.com across its cable nets, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Discovery Health and its retail stores, catalogs and consumer products.

“We see expansion of our online potential as integral to the future of our company and a key component in fulfilling our mandate of empowering people to explore their world in new, exciting and useful ways,” said Judith McHale, prexy and chief operating officer at DCI. “The success and popularity of our television networks offer us a powerful base on which to leverage and expand into new online businesses.”

DCI said the investment marks the first of several ventures it plans to get involved in on the Internet. DCI launched Discovery.com in 1995, and has since built more sites for its channels.

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