Debevoise and Weil lead as Discovery becomes BBC business partner with $14.6bn Scripps deal

Debevoise & Plimpton and Weil Gotshal & Manges are taking the lead on Discovery Communications’ $14.6 bn (£11bn) acquisition of Scripps Network Interactive.

Kirkland & Ellis and Sullivan & Cromwell are also advising.

US television company Discovery is best known for brands including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.

This latest acquisition sees it extend its control of UK media as Scripps jointly controls UKTV, which owns television channels Dave and Gold, with the BBC.

Debevoise is advising Discovery on the deal, which is set to close in early 2018 and give the combined company nearly 20% of all ad-supported pay-TV viewership in the US.

Debevoise’s team is being led out of New York by M&A partner Jonathan Levitsky, litigation partner Daniel Abuhoff and corporate partner Richard Bohm. The firm is also fielding a team in Washington led by office managing partner and corporate intellectual property partner Jeffrey Cunard.

Scripps has instructed Weil. Weil is fielding a team led by New York M&A partner and corporate chairman Michael Aiello, who is also based in New York.

Scripps’ controlling shareholders are the family descendants of Edward Willis Scripps, who was involved in the creation of the company.

The Scripps family are being advised by Kirkland with a New York team led by corporate partners Peter Martelli and Michael Brueck.

One of the other key shareholders for Discovery, the Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership, is being advised by Sullivan.

Other high-profile media deals include AT&T’s $85.4bn (£70bn) takeover of Time Warner. AT&T has turned to Sullivan and Arnold & Porter on the deal while Cravath Swaine & Moore is advising Time Warner.

The deal is currently under review by the US Department of Justice and competition authorities in various countries. It is expected to close by year end.