Cable programming giant Discovery Communications has gone on a $2-billion spending spree in an effort to significantly boost its international presence.
Discovery, parent of several popular U.S. cable channels including Discovery, TLC and Animal Planet, has struck a deal to acquire Scandinavian programmer SBS Nordic from Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG, and has formed a strategic alliance with French media giant TF1 that includes a 20% equity stake in its popular Eurosport Group and four pay-TV channels in France.
As its cable properties in the U.S. mature, Discovery has placed a priority on expanding its footprint overseas in content and distribution.
According to a regulatory filing, Discovery is paying about $1.73 billion for SBS, which has television and radio properties in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Britain. The company was in competition for SBS with private equity firm Providence Equity.
In a statement, Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said, "SBS Nordic has a fully distributed portfolio of dual revenue stream networks with a terrific management team that will expand Discovery's footprint across the Nordic region, which includes some of the most well-penetrated and stable TV markets in the world."
The 20% equity stake in EuroSport, which reaches 123 million homes in Europe, cost Discovery $221 million with options to increase its stake and potentially buy the service outright. In addition, Discovery is spending $18 million to invest in TF1 pay channels.
Last month, Discovery acquired Dubai-based Takhayal Entertainment, the parent company of Fatafeat, a popular food network in the region.