Discovery assumes full control of Eurosport as TF1 deal closes

US media and entertainment company Discovery Communications has officially taken full control of Eurosport after French commercial broadcaster TF1 confirmed the sale of its 49 per cent equity interest in the international sports broadcaster.

TF1’s confirmation of the agreement comes after Discovery announced in July that it would assume full ownership of Eurosport through a €491m ($551m) deal with the French broadcaster.

TF1 said in a statement yesterday (Thursday): “The TF1 group and Discovery Communications today confirm completion of: the acquisition by Discovery Communications of a 49-per-cent equity interest in the Eurosport group, which is now 100-per-cent owned by Discovery Communications.”

Discovery completed its acquisition of a controlling interest in Eurosport in June 2014. Discovery increased its stake in Eurosport from 20 per cent to 51 per cent as part of the deal, which was originally struck with the latter’s parent company, TF1, in December 2012. TF1 had retained the ability to sell its remaining 49-per-cent stake in Eurosport to Discovery.

Discovery and Eurosport’s investment in sports rights has been headlined by June’s acquisition of television and multi-platform rights in 50 European markets for four editions of the Olympic Games, from 2018 to 2024, in a deal worth  €1.3bn.

Eurosport chief executive Peter Hutton this week said sublicensing fees will cover 70 per cent of the cost of the sports broadcaster’s acquisition of rights to the Olympic Games. Hutton added that talks have begun with traditional and new distribution partners, such as mobile and digital platforms.