NEW YORK — Discovery Communications announced Monday an $11.9 billion deal to buy Scripps Networks Interactive, the owner of Food Network and HGTV.
The combined company would control about 20 percent of the advertising-supported pay-television audience in the United States, and it could create a force in television popular with female viewers, bringing together the Scripps channels and Discovery offerings including Investigation Discovery, OWN and TLC.
The talks took place amid broad consolidation in the telecommunications and media industries. Over the past several years, cable and broadband providers including Comcast, Charter, Verizon and AT&T have steadily increased their market presence. That has put pressure on TV companies like Discovery to grow in size as a way to gain leverage in negotiations with cable distributors.
The deal announced Monday had been in the works for a long time. The companies held talks to combine several times — most recently in 2014 — although those discussions fell apart over a range of issues, including price. In pursuing Scripps, Discovery also faced competition from its rival Viacom.
“We believe that by coming together with Scripps, we will create a stronger, more flexible and more dynamic media company,” David M. Zaslav, chief executive of Discovery Communications, said in a statement.
The deal is valued at about $90 a share, or roughly 34 percent more than the price of Scripps stock before reports emerged about a potential sale. The transaction — made up of $63 a share in cash and $27 a share in Discovery common stock — includes the assumption of $2.7…
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