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Shareholders okay Discovery’s Scripps deal

David Zaslav

David Zaslav

Discovery Communications’ takeover of US cable rival Scripps Networks Interactive is drawing near after shareholders agreed to the deal.

The US$14.6 billion deal brings networks such as Discovery Channel and Animal Planet together with the Food Network and HGTV.

Discovery’s shareholder overwhelmingly voted in favour of the agreement, with more than 258 million for and less then three million against.

More than 102 million Scripps stockowners voted for the deal, with around 273,000 against it.

Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav claims the deal will take his firm past The Walt Disney Company as the world’s leading owner of IP, and plans to push the Food Network and HGTV brands as international channel brands.

Scripps shareholders will own around 20% of the enlarged Discovery, with around US$2.7 billion taken on in debt.

Discovery expects the deal to close in early 2018, but the Department of Justice has taken a firm hand to AT&T’s proposed takeover of Time Warner, and key Discovery shareholder John Malone has told investors the Scripps deal is attracting more regulatory attention than anticipated.