Discovery closes Eurosport controlling interest acquisition
Joseph O'Halloran
| 01 June 2014
After a process that begun nearly 18 months ago, Discovery Communications has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in Eurosport International as part of a larger strategic partnership with TF1 Group.

With Eurosport's six pay-TV brands—Eurosport, Eurosport HD, Eurosport 2, Eurosport 2 HD, Eurosport Asia-Pacific and Eurosportnews—Discovery now operates more than 210 worldwide TV networks reaching 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers. For its part, TF1 expects to retain its 80% interest in Eurosport France until at least January 1, 2015 and the closure 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 also retain the ability to exercise a put option over the remaining 49% in Eurosport International, which would potentially increase Discovery's ownership to 100%.

With its expanded portfolio, Discovery says that it intends to make long-term strategic decisions and targeted investments to strengthen Eurosport's sports programming and services to maximise audience and reach. The additional reach and scale will be combined with increased investment in what Discovery calls "must-have" content to create new value for advertisers, affiliates and audiences across Europe and Asia.

"Today is an exciting day for Discovery Communications and our leadership as the number one pay-TV programmer in the world," commented David Zaskar, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. "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...By combining Eurosport's popular sports programming with Discovery's global brands and local expertise, we will continue to capitalise on the international growth of pay-TV and create long-term value for our shareholders."

Added TF1 chairman and CEO Nonce Paolini: "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. Discovery has a proven track record of a long-term investment strategy that creates value for advertisers, affiliates and audiences around the world."