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European deals through Aug. 5: Discovery, Axel Springer, Scripps Networks


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European deals through Aug. 5: Discovery, Axel Springer, Scripps Networks

The European edition of M&A Replay presents a weekly wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates.


* Discovery Communications Inc. said July 31 that it agreed to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal worth $14.6 billion, or $90 per share, based on Discovery's closing price as of July 21. Under the terms of the deal, which is expected to close by early 2018, Scripps shareholders will receive $90 per share, comprising $63 per share in cash and $27 per share in class C common shares. Post-closing, Scripps shareholders will own about 20% of Discovery's fully diluted common shares, while Discovery shareholders will own about 80%. Discovery will fund the acquisition through new debt and cash on hand. Discovery and Scripps will produce about 8,000 hours of original content per year, and house around 300,000 hours of programming. The combined companies will generate 7 billion short-form video streams on a monthly basis.

* Financial investor General Atlantic finalized its exit from Axel Springer SE, selling its last 2.23 million Springer shares for about €121 million to institutional investors, Handelsblatt reported Aug. 4.

* Axel Springer and United Internet AG will merge their respective units AWIN AG and affilinet GmbH as part of a move to create Europe's largest performance marketing network and eventually prepare for a public listing, according to an Aug. 2 news release. Axel Springer will control 80% of the merged entity, with United Internet controlling the rest.

M&A Media

* Kurier Medienhaus, which owns daily newspaper Kurier, on Aug. 5 announced acquired Austrian channel SchauTV. Kurier plans to invest around €500,000 into SchauTV until 2020, Die Presse reported Aug. 4.

* RTL Group led a Series A funding round for Israel-based virtual reality startup Inception, according to an Aug. 4 news release. It will hold a minority stake of 15.01% in the company. As part of the deal, Inception will provide virtual reality programming and distribution capabilities to RTL Group.

M&A Communications

* Telemach Slovenia agreed to take over Slovenian cable operator Teleing, Telecompaper reported Aug. 4. Under the deal, Telein subscribers in the 15 municipalities in the Lower Podravje and Pomurje regions will have access to high-speed internet access, HD channels and video-on-demand, among others.

* VEON's Russian unit Beeline will pay 1.25 billion Russian rubles to MegaFon for half of the stores belonging to their mobile retail joint venture Euroset, which the two companies agreed to end in July, Telecompaper reported Aug. 3, citing Prime.

* Global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners is acquiring Swedish cloud services provider Medius AB for an undisclosed sum, Medius said Aug. 2. The deal is expected to help speed up Medius' global expansion efforts while continuing to invest in its cloud-based solutions.

* Croatian operators H1 Telekom and Optima Telekom have completed their merger, a year after the deal was announced, Telecompaper reported Aug. 2. The combined entity will retain the Optima Telekom name.

* ER-Telecom's proposed acquisition of Ulan-Ude regional operator Biks+ and Ulyanovsk-based operator Variant-TV secured approval from Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service, Telecompaper reported Aug. 2. The two operators are owned by the Strela Telecom group, which in turn is under Cyprus-based Elbrus Capital Investments.

* India's National Company Law Tribunal on July 31 approved the proposed merger between Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Telenor ASA unit Telenor India. In line with its decision, the tribunal directed the telecom operators to hold meetings of their equity shareholders and unsecured creditors in September to secure deal approval. Telenor India's two equity shareholders have already consented to the merger.

* Millicom International Cellular SA said July 31 that it terminated its agreement to sell Tigo's operations in Senegal to Wari Group. Instead, it will sell Tigo Senegal to a consortium consisting of NJJ Holding Co., the private holding company of Iliad SA founder Xavier Niel; Axian Group unit Sofima; and Africa's Teyliom Group.

* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service approved ER-Telecom's acquisition of Khabarovsk Home Networks, an operator owned by the Strela Telecom group, Telecompaper reported July 31.