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Deal: Discovery to acquire Scripps

Discovery is to buy Scripps Networks in a cash and stock transaction valued at $14.6 billion. 

Together, Discovery and Scripps will offer a complementary suite of brands - Discovery specialises in factual entertainment, and Scripps offers lifestyle content. 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.

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. In the UK, Discovery will also take Scripps 50% stake in UKTV, the joint venture with BBC Worldwide. With the acquisition of Scripps, Discovery finally gets the 50% stake in UKTV that it tried to buy off Virgin Media in 2011.

Following a revised carriage deal with Sky, Discovery has also been able to flex its muscles in the free-to-air TV sector, with the launch of Quest Red and services on Freesat. With Scripps, it gains a further two free-to-air channels in the UK: Food Network and Travel Channel.

Announcing the acquisition, which is due to be complete by early 2018, David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.
“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 

Kenneth W. Lowe, Chairman, President & CEO, Scripps Networks Interactive responded:
“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. 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.”

Last week, rival Viacom was dropped from the process, after Scripps indicated it was not happy with Viacom's offer.