Discovery Communications Inc. is acquiring Scripps Networks Interactive for $14.6 billion in a deal that is expected to boost the combined company’s negotiating leverage with pay TV operators at a time when more people watch video online, the companies said on Monday.
The acquisition, which was completed last night, brings together Scripps’ largely female audience of lifestyle channels such as HGTV, Travel Channel and Food Network with Discovery’s Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, which primarily has male viewers.
With the acquisition, Discovery can cut costs and use Scripps’s shows to further its international reach. The combined company’s larger programming slate might also provide leverage in negotiations for inclusion in skinny bundles, or economy-priced cable packages that offer fewer channels than a standard contract.
The combined company will have 20 percent total cable viewership, according to a recent Barclays note. That will strengthen its negotiating stance when renewing contracts with distributors.