BBC Worldwide sells Animal Planet stake

BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster, has sold its 50% stake in international nature channel Animal Planet to Discovery Communications for US$156 million (€114 million). The move, which also includes spin off channel Liv, will see Discovery take complete ownership of the networks, which operate in the United States and across the world in more than 170 territories.

The two companies have also extended their programming deal that will see it increase the number of international coproductions and program acquisitions for North America for an additional two years to 2014. This deal has previously produced series including Life, Planet Earth and Blue Planet.

“Acquiring BBC Worldwide’s rights to the Animal Planet and Liv channel brands provides Discovery a strategic opportunity to create additional revenue and growth opportunities for our global business,” said Mark Hollinger, president and chief executive of Discovery Networks International.

The renewed programming deal will cover a number of new productions including David Attenborough’s series about the cycle of seasons Frozen Planet.