Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks have officially completed their $14.6 billion merger, and the new combined company will be known as Discovery Inc.
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav will remain the chief executive, and Scripps’ former president, chairman and CEO, Kenneth Lowe, will join Discovery’s board of directors.
“Today marks another critical milestone for Discovery, as we become a differentiated kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of family-friendly brands around the globe,” said Zaslav in a statement. “As a new global leader in real life entertainment, Discovery will serve loyal and passionate audiences around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains across every screen; deliver new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; and leverage our leadership position to create new value and growth opportunities for all of our stakeholders.”
Now that the merger is official, the companies are expecting cost synergies of approximately $350 million. In recent calls, Discovery management has said that cost synergy estimates could end up being too conservative. The company anticipates the merger will be accretive to adjusted earnings per share and to free cash flow in the first year after closing.
Last week, Discovery revealed the executive leadership structure for the combined companies. Both Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels and Jean-Briac Perrette, who is currently serving as president and CEO of Discovery Networks International, will continue in their roles, along with several other Discovery executives.
Kathleen Finch, currently chief programming, content and brand officer for all six Scripps Networks brands, will become chief lifestyle brands officer for the combined company with management oversight of HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Discovery Life, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Great American Country and Lifestyle Digital Studios in the U.S.
Nancy Daniels, currently president of TLC, will assume the new role of chief brand officer and lead all aspects of Discovery Channel and the Science Channel brands. Rich Ross, currently group president of Discovery Channel and Science Channel, is leaving the company.