U.S. Broadcaster Discovery Moves Into Sport With 20% Stake In Eurosport
U.S. broadcaster Discovery is "moving into sports programming," paying £134M ($170M) for a 20% stake in Eurosport, with an option to "take a controlling stake in the European company in two years," according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Discovery's deal to take a stake in Eurosport Group, parent of Eurosport Int'l and Eurosport France, values the business at €850M ($1.1B). Discovery owns such channels as Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet and the Oprah Winfrey Network. As part of the deal, Discovery "has the option to increase its stake" to 51% in two years. If the company does, Eurosport's parent company, TF1, can "exercise a put option" over the remaining 49% that would see Discovery "take full control." Discovery has also taken a 20% interest in four TF1-owned French pay-TV channels -- TV Breizh, Histoire, Ushuaia TV and Stylia -- for €14M ($18M), valuing them at a total of €70M ($92M). Discovery "has the option of increasing that shareholding" to 49% in each channel in two years. The deal is "expected to be concluded in the next few weeks" (GUARDIAN, 12/13).