Completing its highly anticipated media deal negotiations, Discovery Communications will acquire Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion.
The companies tout that their combined networks will have a 20% share of all U.S. ad-supported pay TV networks — and a 20% share of all female prime-time viewers.
The TV networks will include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel. The deal, which will yield a savings from synergies totaling $350 million, is expected to close in early 2018.
Scripps shareholders will receive $90 per share -- $63.00 per share in cash and $27.00 per share in Class C Common shares of Discovery stock. Scripps family majority owners had been seeking a deal in which 50% or more would come in cash.
Viacom had also pursued Scripps in an all-cash deal, according to reports -- but was turned down last week.
Discovery’s stock price was down 6% on news of the deal to $25.20 in early Monday morning trading; Scripps Networks Interactive saw a slight uptick -- up 0.8% to $87.59.
Media analysts have been critical of the deal. They note that cable networks continued erosion of subscribers, as well as the questionable future for cable networks groups gaining carriage on new virtual multichannel video program distributor services for all their channels.
David Zaslav, president/CEO of Discovery Communications, stated that the acquisition will create “a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company with a global content engine that can be fully optimized and monetized ... in every country around the world.”