The move is part of an agreement struck today for Cox to end its shareholder ownership of Discovery in a $1.275 billion cash payout. Under the transaction, Cox acquires all the assets and business of the Discovery Travel Media Group, including Travel Channel, Travelchannel.com and Antenna Audio.
In 88 million homes
Travel Channel is currently in 88 million homes and hosts programming such as "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" and "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." The transaction is expected to close by mid-May.
Discovery now goes from three shareholders to two, with the Discovery Holding Co. accounting for 66% ownership and Advance/Newhouse comprising 33%.
"This proposed transaction will simplify Discovery's ownership structure, further streamline our operations and give the company more strategic flexibility," David Zaslav, Discovery Communications president-CEO, said in a statement. "With the structural changes we are putting in place, Discovery is creating a more efficient decision-making process and building a strong, aggressive organization poised for continued growth."
Cleaning up house?
The Cox deal comes after Mr. Zaslav's retooling of his executive board in February, which prompted speculation that Discovery might be cleaning up house for a sale. In an interview with Advertising Age earlier this month, Mr. Zaslav said such a decision would be up to his shareholders and that his primary focus right now is on the growing assets and properties in Discovery's 10-network stable.
"My first task is to build brands and do great programming," he said.