Discovery Communications said Tuesday that it will acquire a controlling interest in Eurosport International, an extension of a 2012 deal with network parent TF1. As part of the transaction, Discovery will increase its interest in Eurosport from 20% to 51%, accelerating the agreement by nearly one year.
“Eurosport is one of the strongest, most dynamic sports platforms in the world. 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,” said Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav in a statement. “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, JB 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. We are privileged to continue our successful relationship with TF1 Group and look forward to growing Eurosport for many years to come.”
Eurosport reaches 133 million homes across 54 countries in 20 languages. Eurosport’s brands and platforms also include: Eurosport 2 reaching 69 million households across 51 countries; Eurosport HD, the high definition simulcast of Eurosport, available in 32 million homes in 48 countries; Eurosport Asia-Pacific reaching 16 countries; and Eurosportnews, a 24-hour news channel and online hub, providing an up-to-the-minute sports news feed available in 48 countries.
“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,” saidTF1 CEO Nonce Paolini in a statement. “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.”
Discovery was one of the first U.S. media companies to launch channels in Europe in 1989 and has invested steadily and significantly in its international business for 25 years. The combined reach of Discovery Communications, Eurosport and the 2013 acquisition of SBS Nordics, will be 2.7 billion cumulative subscribers across nearly 200 networks spanning more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
The transaction was based on an average enterprise valuation for the Eurosport Group of €902 million (approximately $1.2 billion). TF1 will retain the ability to exercise a put option over the remaining 49%, which would potentially increase Discovery’s ownership to 100%.
Rothschild acted as financial advisor to Discovery Communications on this transaction, and DLA Piper served as its legal advisors. Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier served as legal advisors to TF1 on this transaction.
Source: Multichannel News, 1/21/14