Discovery Communications will buy Scripps Networks for close to $12 billion, tying together two powerful stables of TV shows ranging from Animal Planet to the Food Network. The deal, announced Monday, puts the combined company in a strong position to draw female viewers, per the AP. The Wall Street Journal sees the deal as a bet that "bigger is better" in an era seeing more focused viewing options on the rise. Discovery owns networks including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and TLC, while Scripps' networks include HGTV, the Cooking Channel, the Travel Channel, and the Food Network. The combined company will house five of the top pay TV networks for women and account for more than a 20% share of women watching prime-time pay TV in the US.
The Journal sees the food-nature-travel combo as a way to attract younger viewers, too. The transaction, valued at $90 per share, includes approximately $2.7 billion in Scripps' debt. The companies said Monday that they expect about $350 million in cost savings. The buyout, which still needs approval from the shareholders of both companies, is targeted to close by early next year. Shares of Discovery Communications Inc. rose 2.6% before the market open, while shares of Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. edged up slightly. (Read more cable TV stories.)