Shareholders have approved the deal that will see Discovery Communications acquire Scripps Networks Interactive.
The announcement was made during a special meeting of Discovery stockholders today (Nov. 17) in New York, where shareholders overwhelmingly approved the purchase of Scripps for US$14.6 billion in a cash and stock transaction. Scripps simultaneously held a stockholders meeting as well.
For Discovery, votes in favor of the proposed sale to partner the two juggernauts tallied 258.2 million, while those against totaled 2.8 million, according to an SEC filing. Abstentions, meanwhile, measured 104,127 votes.
Scripps shareholders had similar results with their vote, with 102.3 million in favor, 273,147 opposed and 103,061 abstaining.
The merger is expected to close by early 2018.
First proposed in July, it is estimated that the combined company will produce approximately 8,000 hours of original programming annually and be home to approximately 300,000 hours of library content, and will also generate a combined seven billion short-form video streams monthly.
The Scripps acquisition could see the combined companies spending between $3.5 billion to $4 billion on content, said David Zaslav (pictured), president and CEO of Discovery Communications, during a keynote panel at October’s MIPCOM market in Cannes. But that content will have to be fully owned, which will make the post-merger company the largest global IP company in the world, next to Disney.
“Our vision of the future is owning global IP,” Zaslav emphasized at the time.
The combined brands included in the deal are, from Discovery: Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport. Scripps holdings in the deal include: HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country, as well as TVN, UKTV, Asian Food Channel and Fine Living Network.
Earlier in 2017, Scripps struck a deal with German broadcaster ProSieben Sat.1 for more than 1,200 hours of Scripps lifestyle programming stemming from across its channel roster. International operations for Scripps include multi-channel operator TVN in Poland; UKTV, a joint partnership with BBC Worldwide; Asian Food Channel and Fine Living Network.
Discovery’s recent international moves have included the acquisition of Eurosport, and subsequently, securing exclusive European TV and multiplatform broadcast rights for the four Olympic Games to be held between 2018-2024.
Discovery and Scripps discussed a potential merger twice before in recent years, most recently in 2014.
(With reporting by Meagan Kashty and Barry Walsh)