Discovery Buys BBC's Animal Planet, Liv Interest

HollingerDiscovery's international networks have grown at a faster rate than the domestic fleet this year, and the company said Monday it will take full control of Animal Planet outside the U.S. In a deal with partner BBC Worldwide, Discovery will purchase the 50% of Animal Planet and the Latin American channel Liv it doesn't own for $156 million. 

Animal Planet, one of the core Discovery brands, has extensive reach: nearly 250 million cumulative subscribers in more than 170 markets. Liv is in only about 24 million homes.

Mark Hollinger, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, called the sale "a strategic opportunity to create additional revenue and growth opportunities for our global business."

Over the first nine months of the year, Discovery's international networks posted 13% revenue growth, compared to 9% for the domestic group. However, total revenue in the U.S. was more than double the international. And in the July-September period, the domestic networks did have slightly higher growth.



BBC Worldwide said it wants to focus on growing its fully owned (and branded) outlets globally, such as BBC America, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies. Discovery formerly handled ad sales for BBC America before the network brought it in-house under former top executive Garth Ancier.

BBC and Discovery also said they've extended an agreement to co-produce programming that has yielded "Planet Earth" and "Wonders of the Solar System."

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