Discovery’s $14.6B Takeover of Scripps Cleared in Europe

(CN) – The European Commission on Tuesday cleared Discovery Communication’s $14.6 billion takeover of Scripps – home of both the Food Network and HGTV – as long as Discovery makes two Polish channels it owns available for “a reasonable fee” for the next seven years.

While Scripps is particularly active in the United Kingdom, where it operates UKTV jointly with the BBC, the commission found very little overlap and therefore no competition concerns in Britain.

Poland, however, asked the commission to refer the proposed merger to its competition authority since Scripps acquired Polish media company TVN in 2015.

While the commission agreed the merger would raise Discovery’s bargaining power in Poland since it involves channels that are key to basic pay-TV packages there, making TVN’s channels available for a reasonable fee sufficiently mitigated any competition concerns, the EU regulator said.

Currently based in Silver Springs, Maryland – but with plans to move its headquarters to New York in 2019 – Discovery offers primarily factual programming on Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Science and TLC.

Besides Food Network and HGTV, Scripps offers programming on the Travel Channel, DIY Network and the Cooking Channel. It will continue to operate out of its hub in Knoxville, Tennessee, after the merger.

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