While the company has long maintained a presence in New York on Third Avenue, plans call for a move into a new building with much greater capacity sometime in the second half of 2019.
Suburban Washington, D.C., the company’s longtime base, will stay in the mix. The current media distribution facility in Sterling, Va., will become a global technology center and the Maryland Network Hub will continue to run. Discovery will maintain government relations and other functions that need to operate in the nation’s capital.
The New York move is contingent upon the closing of the company’s $14.6B acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, which still hasn’t gotten regulators’ OK. Assuming the deal closes, Discover will establish a national operations headquarters at Scripps’ current campus in Knoxville, Tenn.
About 1,300 Discovery employees are based in the Silver Spring area, and 1,000 are based at Scripps’ Knoxville headquarters. The sale and closing of the Silver Spring building is expected about one year after the closing of the Scripps acquisition. Management plans to further evaluate the global real estate footprint to arrive at the optimal geographic plan and staffing, with today’s announcement emphasizing that decisions on individual job status will not be made until after the Scripps deal closes.
“The media industry is rapidly evolving, increasingly global, more consumer focused and more multi-platform and Discovery must evolve with it,” said David Zaslav, Discovery’s president and CEO. “The decision to move our global headquarters from its founding home is one we do not make lightly. We remain unwavering in our support of the Maryland and Greater Washington, D.C. area and we thank the leadership of the State of Maryland, Montgomery County and, most importantly, our employees for their cooperation and understanding as we make this important next step for the long-term success of Discovery.”