With CEO David Zaslav in Cannes for a Mip-TV keynote this evening, Discovery says it has finalized its acquisition of the SBS Nordic operations of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1. The deal expands Discovery’s footprint in Europe, giving it 12 new TV networks and 19 radio stations in the Nordic countries. The new business, combined with Discovery’s existing brands in the region, will be called SBS Discovery Media with Henrik Ravn as president and managing director. Click over for the press release which has details of the deal that’s part of a current culture of increased media M&A activity in Europe:
(Silver Spring, Md.) – Discovery Communications today announced that it has completed the acquisition of the SBS Nordic operations of ProSiebenSat.1 Group, originally announced in December 2012. The acquisition adds 12 television networks, as well as leading radio stations and several digital brands, to Discovery’s existing portfolio of eight brands in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, to form a combined regional business to be known as SBS Discovery Media.
“The formation of SBS Discovery Media solidifies Discovery’s long-term growth in some of the most well-penetrated and stable TV markets in the world, while also expanding Discovery’s brand portfolio by adding scripted entertainment programming to the company’s suite of genres,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications. “This acquisition, along with the recent announcement of Discovery’s equity stake in Eurosport, is a continuation of a 25-year strategy of investing internationally to build the most extensive global footprint in media and extending our presence in key markets to support long-term growth and diversify the company’s offerings.”
Along with the closing of the transaction, Discovery also announced the appointment of Henrik Ravn as President and Managing Director of the newly combined SBS Discovery Media business, which includes both Discovery’s and SBS’s networks and operations in the Nordic region. Ravn has led the SBS Nordic business since 2009.
“Discovery is fortunate to add Henrik Ravn, a strong and experienced leader, to our international team,” said Mark Hollinger, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International. “Henrik’s proven ability and knowledge of the market, along with the expertise and creativity of the entire team at SBS, will be a tremendous asset for the company as we continue to grow our networks and businesses in the Nordic region and strengthen Discovery’s leadership position around the world.”
“I am extremely pleased to be joining a global leader like Discovery, and look forward to working with the combined team at SBS Discovery Media to grow our market position across the Nordics,” said Ravn. “I am confident that the combination of Discovery’s leading factual content, along with SBS’s mix of locally produced entertainment programs, sports and the best scripted series and movies from major studios, provides a well-rounded and complementary suite of viewing options for consumers across all demographics, as well as additional scale and reach for advertising and affiliate partners throughout the region.”
Ravn joined SBS in November 2003 as CEO of the TV business in Denmark, and has served as CEO of SBS Nordic since 2009. His prior experience includes senior television marketing, programming and management roles with Viasat/MTG, TV2 in Denmark and Yousee. He was previously head of programming for TV 3 in Denmark, where he led the launch of Channel 3+, the first large niche network in the country.
Filling out the SBS Discovery Media senior management team will be Christian Kemp as CEO Denmark, Jonas Sjögren as CEO Sweden/Finland, Harald Strømme as CEO Norway, Hans van Rijn as Business Development Director, Eivind Landsverk as Programming & Content Director and Quinton Holland as CFO. Also on the senior team is Jan Andreassen, the leader of Discovery’s Nordic business, who will serve as a key member of the integration team, working closely with Ravn and the rest of senior management to counsel on operational and strategic issues for the combined entity. Finally, Darren Campbell from Discovery will serve as Vice President of Human Resources.
The SBS Nordic acquisition includes the #2 commercial television portfolio in Norway with four networks and an overall viewership share of 34%; the #3 commercial television portfolio in Sweden with two networks and an overall viewership share of 22%; the #3 commercial television portfolio in Denmark with four networks and an overall viewership share of 19%; and the #3 commercial television portfolio in Finland with two networks and viewership share of 10% in the key demo. The acquisition also includes SBS Nordic’s 19 radio stations, including the #1 radio portfolios in Sweden and Denmark, as well as several digital brands.
Discovery’s TV brands in the Nordic region include Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Science, Investigation Discovery, Discovery World, Discovery HD Showcase and Animal Planet HD.