Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks are putting Shark Week, Guy Fieri, House Hunters, and Bizarre Foods all under the same umbrella in a $14.6 billion mega merger of hugely successful, moderately entertaining media companies.
Maryland-based Discovery Communications announced today that it would pay $90/share for network rival Scripps Networks, creating a programming juggernaut representing 20% of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the U.S.
Discovery, best known for its flagship Discovery Channel, maintains a total of 13 networks including TLC, Animal Planet, the Science Channel, and others. Scripps brings another nine channels to the fold, including HGTV, Food Network, and the Travel Channel.
“We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company with a global content engine,” David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications, said in a statement.
Once the deal closes, likely early in 2018, the two companies believe they will see a cost saving of $350 million annually.
The combined company will produce approximately 8,000 hours of original programming, generating 7 billion short-form video streams monthly.
Discovery notes that by bringing Scripps under its umbrella, the network’s brands will receive a broader international audience. Scripps owns strong positions in international markets, which will provide Discovery with access to the UK and Poland.
The merger is also about getting access to the eyeballs of female TV viewers. Once combined, the merged company would control of the most popular cable networks with women, accounting for 20% of what all U.S. women watch in primetime.