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Discovery Shares Plunge On Earnings, News Of $14.6 Billion Deal To Acquire Scripps Interactive

Mark Fritz

Shares of Discovery Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: DISCA) tumbled Monday on news that the company would acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (NASDAQ: SNI) in a deal worth $14.6 billion.

Discovery was down 8.4 percent and trading at $24.55 at publication. Scripps was up slightly at $87.31.

Scripps’ shows include lifestyle channels such as the Food Network, HGTV and the Travel Channel while Discovery owns its eponymous channel and Animal Planet.

In a statement, Discovery said it would pay $90 per share, based on Discovery's Friday closing price. The purchase price represents a premium of 34 percent to Scripps' unaffected share price as of July 18, 2017. The transaction is expected to close by early 2018, the companies said.

View more earnings on DISCA

Discovery and Scripps also announced second-quarter earnings on Monday. Discovery said its net income fell 8 percent to $374 million, or 64 cents per share, down from 66 cents. Adjusted EPS came in at 68 cents, below analyst estimates of 72 cents. Scripps reported preliminary results of $400.8 million, up 20.8 percent.

See Also: Analysts Say 31 Million Households Could Cut Cord On Legacy Media

CEOs Touts Merger Benefits

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav and Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe told analysts the deal would benefit both companies as they seek to compete for viewers who are increasingly dependent on video carried by such companies as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX)

"We are building a global content engine," Zaslav said, one that aims to "unlock global strategic synergies, driving significant value." He touted the immediate benefits to shareholders from acquiring a stable of profitable TV networks.

"We may have more IP than any other media company. We're certainly up there," Zaslav said.

Combined, Discovery and Scripps will have nearly 20 percent share of ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the United States, the companies said.

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