LONDON — Discovery Communications is to acquire a controlling stake in the pan-European sports TV network Eurosport International. Discovery has upped its stake from 20% to 51% following a deal with French broadcaster TF1 Group.
Discovery acquired its original stake in Eurosport International, which reaches 133 million homes across 54 countries, in December 2012. The deal included the option for Discovery to raise its stake to a controlling 51% at the end of 2014, but Discovery has decided to bring that forward by a year.
Today’s agreement values Eurosport International at €902 million ($1.2 billion), from which the value of Eurosport France — €85 million ($115 million) — has been deducted. TF1 is to retain its 80% interest in Eurosport France. TF1 retains the option to sell its remaining 49% stake in Eurosport International to Discovery.
“Eurosport is one of the strongest, most dynamic sports platforms in the world,” David Zaslav, Discovery’s prexy-CEO, said. “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, J.B. 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.”
Nonce Paolini, chairman and CEO of TF1, said: “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.
“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.”