Scripps Networks to Buy Controlling Stake in Polish TV Company TVN for $615 Million

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Scripps Networks CEO Ken Lowe

"We’re looking forward to working with the whole TVN team to achieve our significant ambitions in the region together,” said Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe.

Scripps Networks Interactive has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Polish commercial broadcaster TVN for $615 million (€584 million) in cash, the cable networks group said on Monday.

Scripps, which owns HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network, among others, is taking a 52.7 percent stake in the company behind Poland’s second-largest private TV network from financial firm ITI Group and Vivendi's Canal Plus. The company will also assume $885 million (€840 million) of debt in the deal.

TVN has a portfolio of free-to-air and pay TV lifestyle and entertainment channels, including TVN, TVN 7, TVN Style, TTV, TVN Turbo, as well as 24-hour news channel TVN24 and business news channel TVN24 Biznes i Swiat. The channels gave TVN a 22 percent share of Polish TV viewing in 2014. 

"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 Scripps CEO Kenneth Lowe. "Poland is a vibrant media market with significant growth potential. TVN has an incredible portfolio of channels and services, and has delivered consistently strong creative and financial performance under the leadership of [CEO] Markus Tellenbach."

The acquisition is the latest move in Scripps Networks’ expansion into Europe. In 2011, the company struck a U.K. joint venture deal with BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of U.K. public broadcaster BBC, for UKTV, which operates 10 entertainment and lifestyle channels.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. Following completion, Scripps said it would launch a mandatory public tender offer to further increase its ownership stake in TVN as required under Polish law.

Scripps Networks International overall distributes seven lifestyle brands, namely 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, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Twitter: @georgszalai

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