Discovery announces $1 billion increase to stock buyback program
Discovery Communications will purchase ProSieben's SBC Nordic operations, including 12 northern European television networks, for $1.7 billion.
Discovery also announced a $1 billion increase to its stock buyback program, and detailed its plans to forge an alliance with TF1/Eurosport.
The acquisition of SBS Nordic includes networks in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The transaction, subject to regulatory review, is expected to close early next year.
SBS, founded in 2000 as the largest TV company in Germany, has grown into one of the the leading media groups in Europe. It has the second largest television portfolio in Norway with four networks and an overall viewership share of 34 percent. It has the third-biggest TV portfolio in Sweden with two networks and an overall viewership share of 22 percent, and the third-biggest TV portfolio in Denmark with four networks and an overall viewership share of 19 percent.
Discovery also said it would take a 20 percent minority interest in the Eurosport group, involving a cash consideration of about $221.6 million. It would have the option of increasing its interest to 51 percent in two years.
Discovery also plans to develop pay-TV content in France by becoming a shareholder in the TV Breizh, Histoire, Ushuaïa TV and Stylía channels, with a 20 percent interest in each and an option to increase to 49 percent in two years. The 20 percent acquisition is worth about $18.2 million.