Discovery Inc. downtown Silver Spring Credit: File photo

Discovery Communications announced Tuesday it has cleared a regulatory hurdle in its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, the media company that owns channels such as HGTV and Food Network.

Discovery, headquartered in Silver Spring, said the Department of Justice has closed its investigation into the acquisition. The department examines mergers and acquisitions in the country to prevent deals that would lessen competition in the marketplace.

“We are pleased to have passed this significant regulatory milestone on our path to acquire Scripps,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “The conclusion of the Department of Justice’s investigation is an integral step toward closing our transaction. We look forward to combining these two great companies to the benefit of our enthusiast audiences around the world.”

Discovery agreed to acquire Scripps in July 2017 in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at about $14 billion.

In early January, Discovery announced it would move out of its headquarters and establish a new headquarters in New York City in 2019 and an operations center in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Scripps is headquartered.

The company plans to notify the approximately 1,300 employees based in Maryland about whether they’ll transition to the new offices after the company finalizes the Scripps acquisition, which the company said is on schedule to close in the first quarter of this year.