Scripps Interactive Networks has agreed to a deal to acquire a majority stake in Polish broadcaster TVN for $615.3 million. Poland has enjoyed a buoyant economy of late and the deal gives Scripps, which also owns the Travel Channel and Food Network, a foothold in a market that grew 6% in 2014.
Scripps will now own 52.7% stake in TVN, acquiring the stake held by French media conglomerate Vivendi, through its Canal+ pay TV unit, as well as Polish investment group ITI, which has been looking for a buyer for some time.
The all-cash deal also sees Scripps take on debt of $890m. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals. Following completion, Scripps Networks Interactive will launch a mandatory public tender offer to further increase its ownership interest in TVN, as required under Polish law.
“This transaction is an important milestone in the ongoing strategic development of our international business, and provides us with substantial further scale in Europe,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, chairman, president and CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive. “Poland is a vibrant media market with significant growth potential.”
The acquisition is the latest move in Scripps Networks Interactive’s expansion into Europe. In 2011, the company completed a joint-venture partnership with BBC Worldwide in the UK for the UKTV portfolio of entertainment and lifestyle channels. Scripps Networks International distributes seven lifestyle brands including HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Fine Living and Asian Food Channel, reaching more than 220 million cumulative subscribers in nearly 180 countries and territories across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Scripps Networks Interactive’s financial advisors for the transaction were Barclays and Blackstone Advisory Partners L.P., while legal advice was provided by Latham & Watkins LLP and Domański Zakrzewski Palinka sp.k.
The deal marks the end of Vivendi’s three-year investment in TVN. At one point, Poland represented the French media titan’s second-largest market. Other bidders for their stake reportedly included Discovery Communications and Time Warner.