European Commission Clears Discovery Deal to Buy Scripps

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The EU watchdog ordered the David Zaslav-led company to allow third parties to distribute TVN24 or TVN24 BiS, or both, in Poland.

Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive on Tuesday received approval from the European Commission for their $14.6 billion megamerger.

The EU watchdog imposed one condition to clear the deal, as it ordered that third parties be allowed to distribute TVN24 or TVN24 BiS, or both, in Poland. The EU clearance gets Discovery and Scripps closer to completing the transaction after they secured shareholder approval.

"We are pleased with the positive decision of the European Commission,” Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. "We believe that joining the Discovery and Scripps Networks’ family of brands and assets will allow us to better serve our passionate fans with more content on more platforms worldwide, while at the same time optimizing our business for greater efficiency," he added.

In July 2017, Discovery first unveiled the agreement to acquire Scripps in the cash-and-stock deal, which the companies said would create "a global leader in real-life entertainment" and drive growth across linear, digital and shortform platforms worldwide.

Scripps operates HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network, among others, while Discovery's networks include the likes of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and OWN. Scripps shareholders will end up owning 20 percent of Discovery, which will take on Scripps' net debt of approximately $2.7 billion in the deal.

The closing of the Discovery deal for Scripps is subject to securing additional antitrust clearances. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.