Thursday 29 September 2016

John Malone-backed Discovery Communications takes control of Eurosport after TV3 bid

Published 23/07/2015 | 07:56

John Malone
John Malone

Discovery Communications, a company backed by US billionaire John Malone which has bid for TV3, has said that it will take full ownership of sports broadcaster Eurosport for €491m from French media group TF1 Group.

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Discovery last month agreed to pay €1.3bn to screen the Olympic Games from 2018 to 2024 across Europe through Eurosport, beating out national public broadcasters that have traditionally shown the event such as RTE.

Billionaire cable entrepreneur John Malone is a long-time board member and major shareholder of Discovery with a 0.39pc stake. Malone also owns a significant stake in Europe's largest cable company Liberty Global.

UPC, a subsidiary of Liberty Global, has made a €80m bid  for TV3.

Discovery, the operator of channels such as Animal Planet and TLC, last year increased its stake in Eurosport to 51pc from the 20pc stake it took in 2012.

Silver Spring, Maryland-based Discovery was one of the first American media companies to launch TV channels in Europe in 1989 and has been investing steadily in the continent.

Since May 2014, Discovery and Eurosport have broadcast events such as UEFA Champions League football, the Europa League and Major League Soccer.

The latest deal also includes a provision for TF1 to buy back Discovery's 20 percent interest in TV Breizh, Histoire, and Ushuaïa TV for 15 million euros.

The deal is expected to close at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

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