Discovery has been busy today on the international front, earlier saying it has big plans for its overseas and digital businesses driven in part by a new initiative to sell subs for its Eurosport app. The company now says it has completed the acquisition of a controlling interest in Eurosport France to further consolidate Europe’s leading sports entertainment group. As part of a larger strategic partnership with France’s TF1, which it began in 2012, Discovery has increased its interest in Eurosport France from 20% to 51%. Adding Eurosport’s French channels follows Discovery’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Eurosport International to build scale across Europe and Asia and add sports content to its global media assets spanning more than 220 countries and territories.
“I am more excited than ever about Eurosport,” said Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav. “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.”
“Eurosport France is a cornerstone of the Eurosport Group,” said CEO Peter Hutton, who was appointed in January in a move that signaled an aggressive push into the lucrative European sports rights arena.
During the past 10 months, Discovery and France-headquartered Eurosport have signed numerous rights deals including with Major League Soccer, Spanish cycling, winter sports and FIFA Women’s World Cup across Europe, and Moto GP in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Last year, the closing price for Eurosport International was based on an average enterprise valuation for the Eurosport Group of about €900M. At that time, the value of Eurosport France (€85M) 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%.