Silver Spring-based Discovery Communications has won the bidding war to purchase Scripps Networks Interactive, the media company that operates popular networks such as HGTV and the Travel Channel.
The two companies announced Monday that Discovery acquired Scripps in a deal valued at $14.6 billion in cash and stock plus Scripps’ debt. Discovery agreed to pay $90 per share for Scripps—a premium of 34 percent of Scripps’ shares as of July 18. The transaction is expected to close early next year.
Discovery landed the deal despite a competing offer for Scripps from Viacom, the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon. Viacom was reportedly offering all cash for the HGTV owner.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Discovery,” Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav said in a statement. “Scripps is one of the best run media companies in the world with terrific assets, strong brands and popular talent and formats.”
Zaslav added that combining the companies will give the business a “global content engine.”
“This agreement with Discovery presents an unmatched opportunity for Scripps to grow its leading lifestyle brands across the world and on new emerging channels including short-form, direct-to-consumer and streaming platforms,” Scripps CEO and President Kenneth Lowe said in a statement.
The company’s combined network portfolio will include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science, Eurosport, Food Network, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, HGTV, Travel Channel and other smaller networks capable of producing 8,000 hours of original programming per year.
Scripps is a largely family-owned company based in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The two companies are expected to be able to save $350 million in “cost synergies,” according to the announcement. The move brings together Scripps’ largely female audience with the male-dominated audience Discovery has developed, according to CNBC.
Media analysts are reporting Monday the merger will likely help Discovery compete against growing competition from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, which have seen continued growth as people end traditional cable contracts.
The announcement Monday noted the combined company will provide a “compelling opportunity” to grow new digital distribution platforms, including on mobile and direct-to-consumer outlets.
“We view the deal as among the most logical in media,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall said in a report cited by The Hollywood Reporter. “Both are somewhat relatively sub-scale when dealing with distributors, and while their combination may not put them on equal footing with a broadcast network or major sports right owner, scale matters and should improve network carriage and affiliate negotiations.”
Scripps shareholders will receive $90 per share, with $63 per share in cash and $27 in Discovery’s Class C Common shares, according to the announcement.