Discovery acquires Norwegian broadcaster SBS

Discovery acquires Norwegian broadcaster SBSUS-based Discovery Communications has bought Norway’s SBS broadcasting firm in a deal worth some USD 1.7 billion (EUR 1.3 billion).

According to a report issued by the Financial Times on Friday (14 December), the deal is the largest ever for Discovery Communications, which operates the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC, and is headquartered in Silver Springs, Maryland.

The SBS network includes a dozen broadcasting channels operating in Scandinavia. Reports said that the German owner of the firm, previously owned by Munich-based ProSiebenSat.1, was seeking to sell the Nordic arm for a slightly higher price of EUR 1.4 billion in an effort to pay off debts.

The news comes as Discovery continues to expand its international reach. About one-third of the firm’s total revenues now come from operations outside of its home market, where as six years prior international networks accounted for only 10 per cent.

Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav said regarding the move, “While some other companies have been pulling back recently and closing down international channels, Discovery has continued to invest,” the Financial Times reports.

Friday also saw Discovery announce a separate deal with French media firm TF1, in which the American broadcaster will receive a 20 per cent stake in sports network Eurosport. The stake is worth an estimated USD 221 million (EUR 168 million).