Discovery Communications has completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in Eurosport France, increasing its stake from 20% to 51% as part of a larger partnership TF1 Group that began in December 2012.
Commenting on the development, David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, said: “I am more excited than ever about Eurosport. Bringing the French business and its talented employees back into the larger organisation illustrates Discovery’s commitment to building on the success of this great brand.
“Since acquiring a controlling interest last May, Discovery has made a series of strategic investments to enhance Eurosport’s offerings with affiliates, advertisers and audiences. We are ambitiously strengthening Eurosport by bringing exciting sporting events to local fans across Europe and Asia. I would like to thank TF1 for its great stewardship and continued partnership.”
Nonce Paolini, chairman and CEO of TF1 Group, added: “We are pleased with the consolidation of Eurosport France under Discovery Communications’ leadership. Eurosport Group is performing well and will continue to benefit from Discovery’s strategic investments and expertise around the world”.
Over the last 10 months, Discovery and Eurosport have signed a number of sports rights deals, from Major League Soccer, Spanish cycling, winter sports and FIFA Women’s World Cup across Europe, to Moto GP in Germany, Belgium and Netherlands.
Peter Hutton, CEO of Eurosport, said: “Eurosport France is a cornerstone of the Eurosport Group and will continue to be an important business for us, with dedicated teams and resources in the key French market, where Eurosport is headquartered.
“Furthermore, Eurosport France and its employees will benefit from rejoining the larger organisation and Discovery’s 30 years as a global media company. We can now truly operate as one team and I am thrilled with the progress we are making. We are really just getting started.”
Last year, the closing price for Eurosport International was based on an average enterprise valuation for the Eurosport Group of approximately €900 million, partly corresponding to the initial valuation and partly to a higher valuation linked to the control of the company.
At that time, the value of Eurosport France (€85 million) was deducted.
TF1 retains the ability to exercise a put option over the remaining 49% in the now combined Eurosport Group, which, if exercised, would increase Discovery’s ownership to 100%.