David Zaslav

Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav. (Getty Images )

Cable programming giant Discovery Communications is taking a controlling stake in sports programming giant Eurosport International.

Discovery, which has made international acquisitions a priority, previously acquired 20% of Eurosport in 2012 for $221 million from the French media giant TF1. It is spending an additional $345 million to push its stake in the sports service to 51%.

The flagship Eurosport Network is available in 54 countries and reaches more than 133 million homes, Discovery said. Eurosport also has sister channels including Eurosport 2, which is in 51 countries with 69 million households, and Eurosport News, available in 48 countries.

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Discovery also has a strategic alliance with TF1 and has invested in its other channels. As part of the Eurosport deal, TF1 will maintain its 80% stake in Eurosport France until at least Jan. 1, 2015.

“Today’s announcement underscores Discovery's strategy to support already strong organic growth with targeted acquisitions and partnerships," said Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav in a statement. 

Discovery's overseas operations reach close to 3 billion subscribers in 220 countries.

The moves come in part because most of Discovery's U.S. operations are maturing while growth prospects abroad remain high.

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