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Discovery gains controlling interest in Eurosport International

Jan 21 (Reuters) - Discovery Communications has gained a controlling interest in European sports broadcaster Eurosport International from French media group TF1, the companies said on Tuesday.

Discovery, the media company behind cable channels TLC and Animal Planet, accelerated by nearly a year its original agreement to increase its stake in the European sports broadcasting platform to 51 percent from 20 percent.

The deal was based on a valuation of about $1.2 billion (902 million euros) for the Eurosport Group.

TF1 will still be able to exercise a put option over the remaining 49 percent, which would potentially increase Discovery's ownership to 100 percent, the companies said in a statement.

The Eurosport network reaches 133 million homes in more than 50 countries in 20 languages across Europe.

TFI expects to retain its 80 percent interest in the Eurosport France unit until at least 2015.

Silver Spring, Maryland-based Discovery has been investing steadily in Europe, including the acquisition of SBS Nordics last year.