Discovery scores Q4 revenue growth and DOJ OK for Scripps acquisition

Discovery Communications
Discovery attributed its quarterly performance to 13% growth at International Networks and 10% growth at U.S. Networks. (Discovery Communications)

Discovery Communications kicked off Tuesday with an 11% increase in fourth-quarter revenue and the U.S. Justice Department’s blessing for a $14.6 billion acquisition of Scripps Networks.

Discovery attributed its quarterly performance to 13% growth at International Networks and 10% growth at U.S. Networks. The company’s adjusted OIBDA rose 10% to $636 million thanks to the growth in those segments, partially offset by higher corporate costs.

“2017 was an historic year for Discovery. We took significant steps to position ourselves for success in a changing industry, while driving growth from our traditional linear business and accelerating our investments in new growth areas like digital and mobile in an effort to reach superfans on every screen,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications, in a statement. “Solid global advertising and distribution revenue growth helped us achieve our 2017 strategic and financial objectives. Additionally, we remain excited by the prospects for a combined Discovery and Scripps Networks.”

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Discovery’s U.S. networks revenues rose 10% to $892 million, as distribution revenues grew by 7% and advertising revenues grew by 8%. The company said it also scored a significant increase in other revenues through its ownership of The Enthusiast Network and Oprah Winfrey Network.

International networks’ revenues rose 13% to $927 million and adjusted OIBDA increased 9% to $249 million.

In addition to fairly positive quarterly results, Discovery shared news that the DOJ had officially signed off on its acquisition of Scripps. The deal is still subject to a review in Ireland and other closing conditions. Discovery said the transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter 2018.

Until the deal closes Scripps, which announced its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Monday, will continue to operate as a separate company.