Discovery Communications has acquired a controlling stake in Eurosport a year ahead of the schedule provisioned in the pair’s original agreement.
Discovery will increase its stake in Eurosport from 20%, acquired under the terms of its December 2012 agreement, to 51% in a deal that values the sports broadcaster at €902 million.
The value raises the initial valuation placed on Eurosport with an element linked to Discovery’s establishing of majority control.
Discovery will not take a majority stake in Eurosport France, with France’s TF1 retaining its 80% stake at least until the beginning of 2015. The deal does not affect Discovery’s December 2012 acquisition of 20% stakes in TF1 Group’s other pay TV services – TV Breizh, Histoire, Ushuaïa and Stylia – and its production partnership with the French broadcaster.
TF1 will retain its ability to exercise a put option over its remaining 49% in Eurosport, potentially increasing Discovery’s stake to 100%.
Rothschild acted as financial advisor to Discovery Communications on this transaction, and DLA Piper served as its legal advisors. Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier served as legal advisors to TF1.
“Eurosport is one of the strongest, most dynamic sports platforms in the world. Over the past year, as we have been working directly with our partners from TF1, it became clear that combining the power of Eurosport’s brands and audience reach with Discovery’s network portfolio, boots on the ground, and country-specific expertise creates an unrivaled and powerful offering for viewers, advertisers and affiliates,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications.