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Sharks, Meet Chefs: Discovery To Buy Scripps, Acquiring Food Network And HGTV

A 2010 photo shows the Discovery Communications networks headquarters building sign in Silver Spring, Md. Discovery Communications is buying media company Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth nearly $12 billion, it announced Monday.
Manuel Balce Ceneta

Discovery Communications, which owns networks like the Discovery Channel, TLC, the Oprah Winfrey Network and Animal Planet, is planning to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive for nearly $12 billion.

Scripps owns HGTV, the Food Network, the Cooking Channel and the Travel Channel, among other brands. When combined, the two companies command nearly 20 percent of "ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the U.S.," according to Discovery.

The purchase is expected to be finalized by early 2018. The deal's full cost is $14.6 billion, which includes $2.7 billion in debt currently carried by Scripps. (NPR President and CEO Jarl Mohn is a member of Scripps' board.)

"Discovery says the combination will allow both companies to cut redundant costs, and will help both companies grow their online and mobile operations," NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports. "The companies hope to expand their international viewership. This comes as cable channels try to combat the defection of viewers from paid-TV subscriptions in favor of streaming video.

"The Scripps family, which owns more than 90 percent of the shares voted in favor of the deal, which is expected to close early next year," Yuki says.

The two companies have been talking about such a deal for about five years, Forbes reports, but the talks only became public a few weeks ago. Since the possible deal was reported on, "both companies have seen their share prices skyrocket," Forbes writes.

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Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.
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