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Discovery to Buy 12 Nordic TV Channels for $1.7B

Discovery Communications (DISCA) has inked a deal to buy 12 television networks in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland from Germany’s largest television company ProSiebenSat.1 for $1.7 billion.

The Silver Spring, Md.-based company, whose cable networks include Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, said the purchase of SBS Nordic further solidifies Discovery’s long-term growth in the profitable Nordic TV markets.

It also adds general entertainment programs, including sports programming, to Discovery’s suite of service for the first time.

SBS has the No. 2 TV portfolio in Norway with four networks and an overall viewership share of 34%, as well as the third largest portfolio in both Sweden and Denmark.

“SBS Nordic has a fully distributed portfolio of dual revenue stream networks with a terrific management team that will expand Discovery's footprint across the Nordic region, which includes some of the most well-penetrated and stable TV markets in the world," Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement.

The transaction, subject regulatory review, is expected to close in early 2013. Citigroup (C) acted as financial advisor to Discovery Communications.

Also on Friday, Discovery said its board approved a $1 billion increase to the company’s existing stock repurchase program.

Follow Jennifer Booton on Twitter at @Jbooton