Analyst Lauds Discovery's 'Grand European Strategy' After Acquisitions

"Discovery's position in Europe today is similar to where Discovery was in the U.S. in the mid-2000's," says Sanford C. Bernstein's Todd Juenger.

LONDON – Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger has lauded Discovery Communications for its recent acquisitions in Europe.

"A Grand European Strategy Begins to Emerge," he said in the title of his report.

The cable networks company, led by CEO David Zaslav, has in the past couple of years acquired SBS Nordic in Scandinavia and a majority stake in pan-European sports network Eurosport International and recently also struck a deal with John Malone's Liberty Global to jointly acquire U.K. production firm All3Media.

"The European acquisitions remain Discovery's biggest controversy," Juenger argued. "We believe we have been thinking about them the wrong way. Instead of scrutinizing each deal individually, investors should be considering them in the context of a broader European strategy."

Concluded the analyst: "Discovery's position in Europe today is similar to where Discovery was in the U.S. in the mid-2000's."

Between 2005 and 2014, the company grew its U.S. audience share threefold, he highlighted. "We believe Discovery is pursuing a European "encore" to its U.S. growth story—with the added kicker of sports."

Predicted Juenger: "We believe success in Europe would drive revenue faster than the 6 percent compound annual growth rate for Discovery U.S. 2008-2014."

He called the stock "a fantastic buying opportunity" and reiterated his "outperform" rating and price target of $98. ‎Discovery shares on Thursday closed at $77.94.
Twitter: @georgszalai