Discovery completes acquisition of Eurosport International

May 30, 2014 21.58 Europe/London By Robert Briel

eurosport playerDiscovery Communications has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in Eurosport International.

Discovery increased its interest in Eurosport to 51% from 20% as part of a larger strategic partnership with TF1 Group that began in December 2012.

With the addition of Eurosport’s six pay-TV brands, Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Eurosport 2, Eurosport 2 HD, Eurosport Asia-Pacific and Eurosportnews, Discovery Communications now operates more than 210 worldwide TV networks reaching 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers.

“Today is an exciting day for Discovery Communications and our leadership as the number one pay-TV programmer in the world. Eurosport is a perfect strategic fit for growing market share, strengthening relationships with advertisers and affiliates, and bringing ‘must have’ content to passionate viewers across the globe,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications.

“By combining Eurosport’s popular sports programming with Discovery’s global brands and local expertise, we will continue to capitalize on the international growth of pay-TV and create long-term value for our shareholders.”

Discovery said it intends to make long-term strategic decisions and targeted investments to strengthen and expand Eurosport’s sports programming and services to nourish and maximise Eurosport’s audience and reach. As part of that effort, Discovery will be working with Eurosport management and employees on a long-term business plan that fully optimises Eurosport’s channels as part of Discovery’s suite of global networks.

“Together, Discovery and Eurosport are undoubtedly stronger. Discovery has built the most successful international pay-TV business in all of media and we are excited to utilize that expertise to further strengthen Eurosport’s programming and platforms,” said Jean-Briac Perrette, Ppesident of Discovery Networks International.

“We would like to thank TF1 for its leadership of Eurosport International and for giving us such a wonderful opportunity to expand our partnership.”

“Eurosport is perfectly poised for its next phase of growth and I can think of no better partner than Discovery to make this vision a reality,” said Nonce Paolini, chairman and CEO of TF1. “Discovery has a proven track record of a long-term investment strategy that creates value for advertisers, affiliates and audiences around the world.”

The closing price for Eurosport International was based on an average enterprise valuation for the Eurosport Group of €902 million (approximately $1.2 billion), partly corresponding to the initial valuation and partly to a higher valuation linked to the control of the company. From this group valuation, the value of Eurosport France (€85 million, approximately $115 million) has been deducted.

TF1 expects to retain its 80% interest in Eurosport France until at least January 1, 2015. Also, today’s closing does not impact the other two elements of the original deal – the 20% interest Discovery acquired in TV Breizh, Histoire, Ushuaïa TV and Stylía channels, and a production alliance with TF1 Group. TF1 will retain the ability to exercise a put option over the remaining 49% in Eurosport International, which would potentially increase Discovery’s ownership to 100%.