Discovery Communications said Tuesday that it has completed its acquisition of a 51% interest in Eurosport France, further consolidating the sports entertainment group.
Discovery had the right to increase its interest in Eurosport France to 51% from 20% after Jan. 1, 2015, as part of a larger strategic partnership with TF1 Group that began in December 2012. Last year, Discovery took a controlling interest in Eurosport International, adding scale to its global media assets across more than 220 countries and territories.
"I am more excited than ever about Eurosport,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “Bringing the French business and its talented employees back into the larger organization illustrates Discovery’s commitment to building on the success of this great brand. "Since acquiring a controlling interest last May, Discovery has made a series of strategic investments to enhance Eurosport’s offerings with affiliates, advertisers and audiences. We are ambitiously strengthening Eurosport by bringing exciting sporting events to local fans across Europe and Asia. I would like to thank TF1 for its great stewardship and continued partnership.”
Over the last 10 months, Discovery and Eurosport have signed numerous sports rights deals – including Major League Soccer, Spanish cycling, winter sports and FIFA Women's World Cup across Europe, and Moto GP in Germany, Belgium and Netherlands.
“Eurosport France is a cornerstone of the Eurosport Group and will continue to be an important business for us, with dedicated teams and resources in the key French market, where Eurosport is headquartered,” said Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton in a statement. “Furthermore, Eurosport France and its employees will benefit from rejoining the larger organization and Discovery’s 30 years as a global media company. We can now truly operate as one team and I am thrilled with the progress we are making. We are really just getting started.”
Last year, the closing price for Eurosport International was based on an average enterprise valuation for the Eurosport Group of approximately €900 million ($965.7 million), partly corresponding to the initial valuation and partly to a higher valuation linked to the control of the company. At that time, the value of Eurosport France (€85 million, or $91.2 million) was deducted. TF1 retains the ability to exercise a put option over the remaining 49% in the now combined Eurosport Group, which, if exercised, would increase Discovery’s ownership to 100%.