Discovery Communications (DISCA - Free Report) has announced plans to buy Scripps Networks Interactive for $11.9 billion on Monday. Investors seem to have mixed feelings as shares of Discovery have fallen 7% in early morning trading while Scripps stock has risen about 0.65% in reaction to the news.
The two networks aim to create a powerful TV network. Discovery owns Animal Planet, Discovery, TLC, the crime channel ID, and a stake in the Oprah Winfrey Network. Scripps currently runs HGTV, Food Network, and the Travel Channel. Together, the merged companies will operate nearly 20% of cable viewership in the U.S.
Each company has struggled in recent years as more consumers move from having cable subscriptions to online TV subscriptions, like Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , Hulu, Sling TV, and Amazon.com’s (AMZN - Free Report) Prime streaming service.
“This agreement with Discovery presents an unmatched opportunity for Scripps to grow its leading lifestyle brands across the world and on new and emerging channels including short-form, direct-to-consumer and streaming platforms,” Scripps CEO Kenneth W. Lowe said in a statement.
Scripps shareholders will receive $90 per share: $63 in cash and $27 in Discovery's Class C common stock. The deal price represents a 34% premium of Scripps’ closing share price on July 18th, before news of the negotiations leaked. Scripps shareholders will own about 20% of the new combined company, while Discovery shareholders will own 80%.
The media conglomerate Viacom (VIAB - Free Report) , who owns Paramount Motion Pictures and popular TV networks like Nickelodeon, was also trying to buy Scripps. However, Discovery’s offer forced Viacom to abandon its efforts last week. Shares of Viacom are down 2% in morning trading today as a result.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Discovery. Scripps is one of the best run media companies in the world with terrific assets, strong brand and popular talent and formats,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery.
Discovery will also acquire Scripps’ long-term debt of $2.7 billion, bringing the total price of the merger to $14.6 billion. The deal is expected to close in early 2018.
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